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Reward offered in mobile home arson case

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Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013 5:00 pm | Updated: 9:04 pm, Fri Jun 14, 2013.

BRADENTON--Authorities are looking for answers after three mobile homes burned down at the Aloha Estates mobile home park in Bradenton.

The three units that were torched were all less than one hundred feet from each other and were vacant.

Luckily no one was injured, but residents say if it happened three times in one day, what's to stop it from happening again?

"All of a sudden I hear, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop," said resident Marilyn Willsey, "and I seen smoke coming from in here, I says well that was no firecracker and boom it went right up."

Willsey stood there and watched as the trailer across from her own unit went up in flames on Saturday.

"I cannot picture anybody doing this, other than like say an arsonist."

And that's exactly the type of person authorities say is responsible for setting not one, not two, but three vacant mobile homes ablaze this weekend.

"We just hope we can get a lead to solve this because there's a lot of homes in here, a lot of families, that can be harmed and are in danger," said Eric Center of the Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue.

Residents say that danger is real, and now they're living in fear.

"Yes, it makes me nervous, because what if the next trailer they decide to burn down isn't one that doesn't have somebody in it," said Amanda Dingman, who says until authorities catch whoever is responsible, she'll be keep a closer eye on her children.

"My kids aren't allowed out of the house," said Dingman.

Dingman says it's usually a quiet neighborhood, where she can let her kids play outside. And while authorities are looking for answers to their own questions, so too is Dingman.

"Why would somebody want to be so destructive and mean and violent?" said Dingman.

Authorities say the total amount of damage is around $40,000.

If you have any information as to who could have set this blaze, you're urged to call the Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue or the State Fire Marshall's office.

UPDATE: A $2,500 reward is being offered by the State Fire Marshals Office for tips leading to an arrest.

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