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Sign case treated as arson

Authorities want to know who set fires

POSTED: May 2, 2012 4:00 a.m.

On April 23, emergency officials responded to reports of a fire on Hwy. 9 near Dawson Forest Road.

"I got the call about 11:45 p.m. from someone who was driving by and saw the sign on fire," said Sheriff Billy Carlisle, who is seeking a fourth term.

Someone also attempted to burn a second sign on Hwy. 53 near Buddy Burt Road. Both signs belonged to Carlisle. A dozen or so of his smaller campaign signs were taken from private property that same night.

"It really comes as a shock,' Carlisle said. "I expected yard signs to be taken, but I never dreamed someone would set them on fire."

The sheriff has replaced the torched sign and is moving forward. "There's really more important things to be focusing on," he said.

Carlisle is the only candidate for elected office to file a report about vandalized signs.

At least two other people have announced their intention to run for sheriff. The July 31 election also features contests for several other city, county and state offices.

Dawson County Fire Marshal Tim Satterfield said his office is treating the case as arson.

"We're going to investigate any suspicious fire set in Dawson County," he said. "This fire was no different than any other set fire and that's the way we are treating it."

The dry, windy weather could also have created a hazardous situation.

"It could have spread to nearby structures," Satterfield said. "There's a home, barn and some chicken houses that could have caught fire because of this."

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