Suspicious Person Seen in Yard Minutes Before East Street Fire

By Jeremy Coumbes on May 26, 2022 at 1:11pm

More information has been made available from the investigation into a suspicious house fire from earlier this week.

At 3:45 pm on Monday, May 23rd, firefighters from both Jacksonville and South Jacksonville responded to a structure fire in the 600 block of North East Street in Jacksonville. The two-story structure was vacant and no one was injured in the fire.

According to an update from Morgan, Scott, and Cass County Crime Stoppers, bystanders at the scene of the fire witnessed a suspicious subject in the rear of the property minutes before the fire began.

Crime Stoppers say a man was seen in the backyard of this house on North East Street just before it caught fire Monday afternoon.

The individual is described as a white male, with blond hair. He was wearing a dark shirt and camouflage pants. It’s the second lead of the investigation into a string of suspicious fires to vacant properties in recent weeks.

According to a Crime Stoppers report from May 6th, minutes before a vacant house caught fire the morning of Sunday, May 1st at 320 Farrell Street, an unknown person was seen arriving, entering, and then leaving the residence.

Fire gutted this vacant house at 320 Farrell Street in Jacksonville the morning of Sunday, May 6th.

The individual from the Farrell Street fire is described as being between 5’8″ and 6 feet tall, wearing black pants, a navy blue hooded sweatshirt, and a black mask. According to the report, witnesses were unable to determine the race or sex of the individual.

Jacksonville Fire Department Chief Doug Sills continues to urge the public to be vigilant and keep an eye on their neighborhoods, especially those with vacant or unoccupied structures.

He asks anyone to reach out to the Jacksonville Police Department if they see anything suspicious such as people hanging around that shouldn’t be there, especially if they are coming and going from a structure that is known to be unoccupied.

The police are asking that anyone who has information concerning these arson incidents to submit an anonymous tip online by going to and clicking the leave a tip button on the home page, or by calling Crime Stoppers at 217-243-7300. If your tip leads to an arrest, you are eligible for a cash payout. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via the Crime Stoppers of Morgan, Scott, and Cass Counties mobile app, or by texting 274637 (CRIMES).

The first word of the text tip must be “payout”.