CLAYTON --Johnston County authorities are investigating what appears to have been the ninth unoccupied home in the Clayton area to have been intentionally set on fire since last October.Callers reported a fire at an abandoned house at 738 Strickland Road, near Swift Creek Road, around 11 p.m. Saturday.
Crews from surrounding towns, including Wilson Mills, Smithfield and Selma responded, along with Smithfield and Johnston County EMS.
Wilson Mills Fire Chief Ricky Barbour said that the fire is considered very suspicious.
The house has been abandoned for decades and had no power.
A total of eight homes that were either abandoned or under construction have been set on fire in the Clayton area, since Oct. 31, 2009.
Saturday's fire was three miles from the Glen Laurel subdivision, where arson is suspected in fires at three homes under construction. The most recent fire happened early Monday.
Clayton police and the State Bureau of Investigation have been investigating possible links between the fires. A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to arrests and convictions in the cases.
Anyone with information about the fires should call Clayton police at 919-553-4611 or Clayton Crime Stoppers at 919-359-8479.