South Georgia convenience store attacked with firebomb - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia convenience store attacked with firebomb

December 10, 2007

Donalsonville--Loyal customers who stop daily at the Speed Track Convenience store were turned away by crime scene tape. Owner Mike Patel says damage from the fire here this morning could keep him closed for 4 to 6 weeks. "It damaged the gas system and all that so I don't know how long it will take, " he says.  Donalsonville Police Department's chief investigator, Chad Robinson adds, "100% of the merchandise will have to be replaced."

The fire was mainly contained to the west side of the building.  It took firefighters just minutes to put it out.  That's when they discovered some suspicious elements to what may have started this fire.  "After the fire was out we noticed a really strong odor that was suspicious to us," says Robinson. Also a broken window on the same side as the fire motivated the Donalsonville Police Department to get the state fire marshal's office involved. They ruled it was arson.

Patel says he can only guess at who could have done this. "I can guess but I don't have anything clear. There is lots of competition in gas," says Patel.  Both he and the fire marshal's office are asking for the public's help to track down the culprit. "They're offering a $10,000 reward from the state fire marshal's office, and I believe the owner is personally offering a $2,000 reward," says Robinson. 

Patel confirms, "We'd like to offer $2,000, if someone can give us the right information."  Patel says he only hopes when they get back on their feet, their customers will be here waiting.

If you have any information about this fire, you're urged to call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804.  Rewards of up to $10,000 are given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Calls are taken 24 hours a day; callers can choose to remain anonymous.

 

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