Man charged for burning his house a third time

Police arrest alleged serial arsonist in Williamsburg

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WVEC) --- A Williamsburg man is in jail after allegedly setting his own house on fire for the third time in the last year.

45-year-old Dennis Tooley was taken into custody following the latest fire early Friday morning on Thomas Nelson Lane.

Major Greg Riley said he's never seen anything like it.

"This is the first time in my career, and I've been working here 27 years," said Riley.

Tooley now faces three separate arson charges. Police said the reason he was out in the first place is because he was waiting to be appear in court on the first two charges.

Williamsburg Fire Department said pets, Dennis Tooley and one family member were inside the house when the fire happened. No one was hurt.

Neighbors said they are also in disbelief after the fire early Friday morning.

"It was like déjà vu,” said Paul Dumont. He lives next door to Tooley and said police knocked on his door when the fire happened.

They told him to be ready to evacuate. He said it’s the second time that has happened to him since living in his home for 18 months. So, he wants to see a change.

"I was hoping the house would just be finished and then they would just graze it and be done with this once and for all," said Dumont.

Some neighbors said they wanted to stay anonymous because they feared their house being targeted. However, they said the fires are “beyond ridiculous.”

One anonymous neighbor said, "I don't even really believe that the neighborhood as a whole understands what's going on over there I really don't."

The nameless couple told us all three arson fires from November 2016, July 2017, and the one on Friday happened after dark.

"If that's the way he's going to think. Then he needs to do it in prison," said the anonymous neighbors.

Prison time or not, all residents hope peace and quiet will return to Thomas Nelson Lane soon. "Hopefully we don't have any more fires, you know this is getting old," said Dumont.

Tooley is expected to have a bond hearing this next week.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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