Forsyth County authorities are looking to the community for help identifying a suspect or suspects responsible for setting fire to the Country Corner Valero gas station on Dahlonega Street outside of downtown Cumming early last week.
According to Division Chief Jason Shivers of the Forsyth County Fire Department, engines were dispatched to the gas station at about 3 a.m. on March 28 responding to a call that the gas station was on fire.
“Fortunately, the fire was an exterior fire and it was noticed by an alert citizen that lives in the area,” Shivers said. He said the citizen was up and outside at the time, smelled smoke, investigated and called 911.
Shivers said that they were able to quickly extinguish the fire and the back side of the building was left with only minor exterior damage.
“Our fire investigator was called to the scene and very quickly determined that it was an intentionally set fire,” Shivers said.
He said that currently they have no suspects, but have arson investigators working to identify anyone with any knowledge or connection to the crime. Shivers said that anyone with any information on the incident can contact arson investigators at the Forsyth County Fire Department or the Georgia Arson Control Board.
“We want word to get out that someone tried to burn that building down,” he said.
Shivers said that by a strange coincidence, the same Valero station caught fire in 2012, but that the incidents were unrelated.
“That fire was absolutely, completely accidental,” Shivers said, explaining that the origin of the 2012 fire was determined to be electrical.
Added Shivers: “It’s just ironic that this same building had an accidental fire several years ago and now last week we had someone who is intentionally trying to destroy this building by fire.”
He said that no one was injured in the incident and the gas station was able to open for business as normal later in the morning.
Shivers said the Georgia Arson Control Board, a state entity that provides rewards for information that leads to an arson arrest, can be reached by calling (800) 282-5804 or visiting georgiaarsoncontrol.org.