NORTON, Va. (WJHL) – Police are investigating two different fires at Southwest Virginia Dollar General stores last Friday, and investigators say a juvenile is suspected of starting both.
According to Norton Police Department Chief James Lane, officers began investigating a fire at a Dollar General store on Park Avenue on Friday, Nov. 25. Norton Fire Department Chief Todd Lagow said crews were called to the scene around 12:50 p.m. and found black smoke rising from the building.
In the two minutes it took for crews to arrive, Lagow said all customers and staff had already evacuated the building and most of the fire had been put out with an extinguisher. Norton crews finished putting out the fire, and Lane said investigators found evidence of foul play.
In a Norton PD report obtained by News Channel 11, investigators said surveillance footage showed a juvenile male entered the store with two adult women before “interacting with something at the fire origin site when flames ignited and shot all the way up to the ceiling.”
Meanwhile in Coeburn, another call informed dispatchers that another fire had started around 2 p.m. less than ten miles away in a different Dollar General. After the flame was extinguished, Coeburn Police Department investigators began checking for potential causes.
The cause, Coeburn Police Department Chief Scott Brooks said, was allegedly the same juvenile that had visited the Norton store. Brooks said the fire allegedly originated from a match taken from the Norton location.
Damages to the Norton location were estimated at around $100,000 in the Norton PD incident report.
Chief Lane told News Channel 11 that he expects charges connected to the Norton incident to be filed later in the week, while Brooks said his department will hand over its findings to the Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to see if charges connected to the Coeburn fire are warranted.