Streator authorities pleading for arsonist to stop

By Joe Bennett

August 20, 2012 Updated Aug 21, 2012 at 9:25 AM CDT

STREATOR, Ill. -- A plea for a serial arsonist in Streator to stop committing crimes is now stronger than ever. Authorities believe two recent fires are connected to 15 others there since May 2011.

A fatal fire August 15th is being investigated separately, but officials say this trend must end.

"It's gone too far already. It's already cost a life. Please stop."

Those words from a Streator firefighter were apparently not taken to heart after a suspected arsonist killed three year old Saranadee Green-Libby in Early August.

Though they are not believed to be connected, the two most recent fires to vacant buildings in Streator leave officials seeking help from residents.

"Find out who has been doing these crimes, catch them, put them in to the system and convict them with the stiffest penalty possible," said Mayor Jimmie Lansford.

Just after midnight Sunday firefighters responded to a fire at the Lipton Tea building downtown. 45 minutes earlier they responded to an empty home now targeted three times, leaving nearby residents in fear.

"You don't sleep well, because you're afraid this person is out there again, and I'm worried," said nearby resident Jean Delaney.

Trucks were still working the fire on 319 South Vermillion when they were called to the Lipton Tea building three blocks away.

"When we realized we had the second call, then we had to wait and pull two trucks and then I asked for mutual aid from the volunteer department," said Streator Fire Department Chief Tom Risley.

It took approximately 13 departments and 60 personnel six hours to knock down the fire at the warehouse. Both fires are under investigation and considered suspicious by the State Fire Marshal's Office, according to the Streator police chief.

"At this time, we don't know. It could be one person, it could be two or three people, it could be a couple groups," said Streator Police Chief Jeff Anderson.

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