Arsonist Strikes Again

By: Valerie Lacy
By: Valerie Lacy

Investigators have been working this case for years, and now two more arsons in the past few weeks.

Businesses are fed up and residents are scared. It's been five years since the Ouzt's Oyster Bar burned to the ground. The embers may have died, but the fear has grown.

Ouzt's has been rebuilt, and still it's been the victim of five arsons since the reopening.

Dorothy White owns Ouzt's too. Her building holds the scars of arsons past. She says each night around 1 a.m. she waits for the phone to ring, bringing her news of another fire.

Dorothy White said, "There's been five attempts since it was over here. When it was the old Ouzt's across the street they burned it completely down."

And it's not just her bar. Pick a building in Newport, just about any one of them, and you'll see the arsonist's trail. A park, fixed from arson years ago, has been hit by arson within the past three weeks.

Ed Brown, caretaker for Newport Park, said, "We got hit around three weeks ago. I got it patched up a little bit where we can open the bathroom back up. Hopefully they'll catch this suspect sooner or later."

Damage to the bathroom was minimal, but this park just recently cost the county $36,000 to fix it up.

White says one burn on the west side of her building cost 80,000, and so far the Sheriff's Office has not named a suspect.

Newport residents are resilient. One family has moved away after arson burned its home down, but many residents and business owners have stayed, saying they refuse to be scared away.


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