COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - Shirley’s of Collins was destroyed by a fire Sunday night. After further investigation, officials now believe that fire was set intentionally to possibly cover up another crime.
“Through continued investigation, officials have ruled the fire is believed to be incendiary in nature,” Collins Fire Chief John Pope said Tuesday.
Pope said it appears the blaze was an act of arson and evidence from the scene suggests the fire may have been set to cover up a burglary of the business.
According to Pope, firefighters responding to the scene noticed an opened entrance to the building that would have normally been closed and locked. Investigators also found several “items” missing from the store and signs of a vehicle leaving the area.
Firefighters worked through the night and into Monday morning battling the flames but were unable to save the structure. Pope said the building collapsed and is a total loss.
Pope said investigators are now hoping to identify the suspect or suspects involved in the crime. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the State Fire Marshal’s Office for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
If you have any information on the fire, you’re asked to call the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 1-888-648-0877, Collins police at 601-765-6541 or Pope at 601-765-5110.