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Arsonist allegedly strikes again 

An Oct. 23 fire that damaged a three-story house under construction is the latest in a suspected string of arsons resembling the work of an eco-terrorist.

State Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine has attributed the fire to an arsonist (or arsonists) who for two years has been torching houses under construction in northern Coweta County, just south of Fulton.

Neither Oxendine's office nor Coweta County fire officials would comment on the motives behind the alleged serial arsons, three of which occurred in a two-week period in February.

But a message left at the scene of what's thought to be the first in the series of fires suggests that an arsonist is targeting developments in an area of fast-growing Coweta that's transforming from thick, pristine woods to suburban sprawl.

In August, CL reported that someone slashed the tires, cut the hydraulic lines, and poured dirt into the fuel tanks of a dirt compactor and land scraper parked at a Coweta subdivision three winters ago. The words "stop now," were scratched into the side of the compactor. Months later, the house being constructed on the site was burned to the ground days before its completion.

When the house was almost rebuilt, it was burned to the ground again.

As many as 16 nearly completed homes have been torched in and around Arbor Springs Plantation, a posh, 600-home neighborhood with an 18-hole golf course and two lakes, Oxendine spokesman Glenn Allen told CL earlier this year. No one has been injured.

The latest target, a three-story home on Longshore Way in Sharpsburg, 15 miles from the first alleged arson, isn't considered a complete loss, according to Oxendine.

Oxendine's office is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit. Anonymous tips may be left at the arson hotline, 800-282-5804.

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