Web posted Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Fire investigators confirm suspect in series of arsons
By STEVEN N. LEVINE
ncpub@earthlink.net


HAINES CITY -- State fire investigators have a suspect in a series of arsons that destroyed a manufactured residence last month in the Blue Heron Bay Mobile Home Park.

Fire Marshal Kevin Shireman said on Monday he will ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct a lie detector test on the suspect whom he declined to identify. The suspect has agreed to the polygraph through his attorney, Shireman said.

Shireman did not know how soon the examination could be conducted, but suspected it would occur in a matter of weeks.

"I'm just finishing my report now. I'll send it up to FDLE and it will be up to them," he said.

The investigation followed back-to-back fires at Eugene and Nancy Bovee's residence the week of May 2. A state accelerant-sniffing canine spotted two areas, at least one in an attached carport, following the third fire that razed the mobile home causing about $56,000 in damage.

Haines City firefighters originally responded to the residence May 1 to extinguish a very minor blaze that damaged a bed in a spare bedroom. The couple had left the double-wide mobile home unlocked while they went on errands and returned to find the structure full of smoke, city police said.

Shortly afterward, a nuisance fire that was set using bingo cards was discovered on the stove in the development's recreation center causing very minor damage to an oven. That fire clinched the fact investigators were probably dealing with an individual known in the subdivision, police said.

Haines City Fire Marshal Lonnie Large said the department has had no contact with the state fire marshal's office since turning over the investigation. Haines City Police Detective Sgt. Jeff Moore said the fire marshal's office is entirely handling the arson investigation.