A series of roadside fires near Golden Gate Estates being investigated for arson

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Image from video of one of the Brush fires that burned near Golden Gate Estates on Sat.

Several suspicious fires are under investigation. Fire investigators say flames popped up on both sides of the road in Golden Gate Estates along 4th Avenue Southeast to 14th Avenue Southeast.

It was a frightening sight for drivers on Saturday as they traveled down Everglades Boulevard South.

Jeremy Wagner was driving in the area when he stopped his car.

“I just started trying to kick sand on it, something, you know, I thought I could do something, but I couldn’t,” said Wagner.

Greater Naples Fire wasn’t far behind him, though.

“It was pretty big. I thought it was going to spread a lot faster than it did. Luckily the fire department, even though were kind of far-out, got there pretty quick and they had two fires to put out. They had that one and the one down the street.”

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office said there were six fires in total, burning on both sides of the road.

WINK News went to Golden Gate Estates to see the damage left behind; scorched trees, brush, and pinecones just feet from the roadway. That is one reason investigators suspect this was no accident.

Greater Naples Fire Chief Nolan Sapp said, “what makes it suspicious is they’re right off of the roadway. There were several of them all within about a 15-minute period of time.”

It is a scary thought for neighbors who know the dangers of the dry season well.

Wagner, who lives in Golden Gate Estates, said, “last May we had a fire come within one street of us, but we didn’t have to evacuate, but my brother in law, who was a few streets past this, he almost lost his house.”

The Saturday fires didn’t threaten homes, but neighbors know they won’t always be that lucky.

The Greater Naples Fire, Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Forestry Service are all investigating the fires.

They encourage the community to report any suspicious burning activity when they see it.

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