Arson could be cause of Polk Co. wildfires

- As if the fire season isn't bad enough, it appears an arsonist is at work in eastern Polk Co.

There have been five suspected arson brush fires in Indian Lake Estates already this week. Homeowners there thought they were in the clear after wildfire destroyed about 6,000 acres a few months ago.

Unfortunately, they were wrong.

"I am scared for all the residents here," Althea Torkildson told FOX 13. "We could lose some lives."

The most recent fire, which broke out late Tuesday afternoon, came within a few hundred feet of Torkildson's home. Her daughter and her toddler granddaughters watched as the fire came dangerously close.

RELATED: Gov. Scott declares state of emergency as wildfires rage

"We were just waiting for them to come down and tell us we have to leave," said Torkildson's daughter, Erica Barlen.

Investigators suspect an arsonist is at work based on the locations of the fires, which have all popped up by the sides of the roads. Investigators say it's an indication that someone may have driven to the location, set the fire, then taken off.

RELATED: Burn ban issued as Pasco brush fires smolder

"All I can say is sick, sick sick," said Daniel Knickerbocker, another homeowner.

The Florida Forest Service is asking anyone who has seen a suspicious person or vehicle in Indian Lake Estates to report it by calling 1-800-342-5869.

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