Hollywood Police charge man with arson

Northeast Alabama

Joseph Ray McGehee, 18, arrested in connection to a string of house fires.

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HOLLYWOOD, Ala. — The Hollywood Police Department have arrested Joseph Ray McGehee, 18,  in connection to a string of house fires on Mitchell Drive.

Hollywood Police Chief Jason Hepler says McGehee confessed to three out of the five house fires, and is charged with first degree arson and two counts of arson in the second degree.

Investigators believe this is an isolated incident.

From earlier:

Data pix.

Police continue to investigate the fires, and say new cases haven't cropped up. All of the fires are in one neighborhood on Mitchell Drive. So far, there are five.  "Two that we consider total losses and three that were attempted, and they all match the way they were lit," Hollywood Police Chief Jason Hepler says.

The investigation is ongoing, and police named a person of interest. That person's name isn't publicly released yet. "I can tell you that we do have a hand print, and we've collected DNA evidence," Hepler says.

In the meantime, Hepler asks the residents in the area to stay alert. "Be observant of what's going on around them and just let us know if they see or hear anything suspicious," Hepler says.

This situation is unusual for the town. "We don't have stuff like this in this area," Hepler says.

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