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Suspicious fires point toward arson
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 Investigators are calling two structure fires that blazed in Oxford and Porterdale early Friday morning "suspicious in nature," according to the Newton County Fire Department.

 NCFD Deputy Chief Tim Smith said he currently had no leads, but that the suspicious nature of the fires was apparent to him immediately.

The first fire at the old general store in Oxford on the corner of Emory Street and East Clark was reported by a passer-by around 1:52 a.m., Smith said.

 When firefighters and engines from the NCFD and Oxford Fire Department responded at approximately 1:58 a.m., they found flames coming through the rear of the building, Smith said.

 The one-alarm blaze took about 40 minutes to get under control because the floor in the building, which had a half-cellar, collapsed making it unsafe for firefighters to enter the building and fight the blaze from inside.

 The white, one-story building was currently used for storage and filled with antique furniture, according to Smith.

 The second fire was spotted shortly before 5 a.m. in Porterdale in a vacant, partly boarded-up house just feet away from occupied houses off of Daisy Street.

 Firefighters found flames coming from a back room and smoke from the exterior when they arrived at 5:06 a.m. Within five-minutes, the fire was under control.

No one was injured in either fire.

 Both the Oxford property and Porterdale property belonged to Curtis Jackson of Oxford, who is cooperating with investigators, said Smith.

 "I don't know what to say, I'm just really upset," said Curtis's wife, Sherry Jackson.

 Anyone with information about the fires can call the arson hotline at (678) 625-5050 or leave an anonymous tip online at If you wish to have a reply from the Web site, a name and number need to be left in the message.

 There's also a reward offered of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the person or persons involved. For more information, call (800) 282-5804.