A suspicious porch fire last week matches the circumstances of around 50 suspected arson fires in the past eight years. The second-floor porch fire on Sept. 26 broke a long pause between fires, but the incidents seem to increase in the early fall each year. The unknown person appears to start the fires by throwing a lit match on items nearby or already on the porch, like outdoor furniture or couches.

“We think the person could be just lighting whatever is on the porch and leaving, then watching from a distance before moving on,” Charleston Police Detective Larry Burn told the City Paper in 2009.

Officials recommend removing furniture from porches and installing motion-detecting lights or keeping porch lights on overnight. Anyone with information should call (800) 92-ARSON.