Arson fires in Jackson County leave one family in heartbreaking circumstances

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HOLLYWOOD, Ala.--A string of fires on Mitchell Drive in Hollywood has police concerned about a possible arsonist on the loose. Five houses have been targeted. Two are now a total loss, and the other three houses have significant fire damage.

Police said they do believe someone is setting these fires intentionally. Hollywood Chief of Police Jason Hepler asked that everyone living in the neighborhood be mindful of any suspicious activity, and report it as soon as possible.

"We found some paper shoved up in one that didn't catch, that had been charred, so they were putting paper in the dryer vent and lighting it on fire," Hepler explained.

David Meeks spoke with WHNT News 19 after his mother's house was lost in one of the fires. His stepfather was able to get his mother and others in the house to safety, but the circumstances now surrounding their loss, is heartbreaking.

Imagine waking up to a fire in your home, completely unable to do anything, but then imagine doing all of that, in the dark.

"My mother, she's bed ridden, she's a severe diabetic, she uses a wheelchair to get around, she cannot walk, of course, being blind she was scared to death," said Meeks.

Early Friday morning Meeks' family found themselves in that terrifying situation as they were awakened by smoke alarms.

"Thank goodness there was somebody here to save her, because if she had been home alone, I would be preparing a funeral for my mother," he said.

David's stepfather was able to get his mother out of the house and down the road to a neighbor's home where they kept her warm as the fire destroyed her family home.

The only thing that matters to David is that his mother is safe. But now, his family is starting from scratch. Due to his mother's illness, and the cost of her health care, his family didn't have insurance on their house.

"There's nothing we can do about it now, we love mom, we're gonna take care of her first, houses, replaceable, moms' not," he said.

But, Meeks wants whoever's responsible for the fires to stop. He said they don't know the damage their vandalism is doing.

"'I don't think you realized what you were endangering when you set this home on fire in particular," said Meeks.

Because of David's mother's health conditions, they have some unique needs besides just clothes and housing. They're going to need a new wheelchair and hospital bed for their new house. David said the next step is just figuring out where they go from here, and trying to find a home for his parents.

If you would like to help the family, they have created a GoFundMe account where you can donate here. Or if you have physical donations and would like to reach the family directly, you can contact David's wife Kayla Meeks at 256-599-8148 or at

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