Third fire set while officers still in area

By Stephen Dawkins | Assistant Managing Editor

A man charged with arson this week allegedly set the third of the fires while law enforcement officials were still in the vicinity.

Sheriff Kevin Davis said Richard Hand, 51, a resident of the Union Grove community, was arrested after three adjacent mobile homes were set on fire from 3:55 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

“The trailers were right next to each other; it wasn’t even sporadic in the trailer park,” Davis said.

None of the trailers were occupied at the time of the fires, Davis said, and there were no injuries reported.

The third mobile home was set on fire as officials with the sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal’s office were speaking with the owner of the park, who lives just up the road from the park on County Road 42.

“The third one was so recent that they were able to extinguish it just with a bucket of water, and he was arrested at that time,” Davis said.

While working the second fire, a local firefighter recognized Hand as being a suspect in a series of similar fires in another mobile home park on County Road 61 in 2011, Davis said.

Davis said he was unsure how the fires were set.

Hand had been living in the park for about a month, since he was released from Chilton County Jail after serving time for his last arson charges.

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