MFD investigating five cases of arson across the city

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Fire Department is investigating five fires intentionally set at homes across the city in the last four days.

One of the fires was in Orange Mound. When firefighters showed up to the home off Dallas Street, they discovered a man family identifies as Willie Cowans dead in a bedroom. Memphis Police haven’t said how Cowans died but tell us they’re treating the case as a homicide.

The day before this and just two miles down the road, crews worked to douse flames at Charles Burkins’s house off Frisco.

Burkins is grateful he made it out safely. 

“I’m standing here looking like this. The whole inside of that window frame from the floor down, that’s what was burning, right there,” Burkins said.

Investigators say someone intentionally set the fire.

“They threw something through the top of my window up there,” Burkins said.

He says he has no idea why his place would be targeted. He was shocked when we told him his case isn’t the only one keeping investigators busy.

Now, Burkins has to figure out how the thousands of dollars in damage will be fixed. His home is also without utilities.

“You know God don’t like ugly, and there ain’t nothing on top of the face of this Earth forever lasting. Everything come to an end one day,” Burkins said. “People around here doing stuff like this, they got to pay for it.”

We reached out to the fire department for more information, such as how many arsons they’ve had this year compared to last year. So far, we have not heard back.

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