At 5:45 a.m. on June 30, 2004, someone climbed the metal stairs at 34 Morris St. and started a fire next to a car battery.

Despite similarities to other fires in the neighborhood, this incident wasn't included in a roster of suspicious fires the city released earlier this summer.

Members of the city's arson task force today had no immediate explanations why this fire and another on 28 Carolina St. in 2008 weren't on their roster, or whether they were in fact connected to a serial arsonist.

"We know there are a large number of arsons," said Charleston Police Capt. Naomi Broughton, adding that the task force is less concerned with tallies than other aspects of their search for the arsonist.

The city's list included 56 fires thought to be linked to an arsonist or group of firesetters. But a recent Post and Courier analysis of police and fire reports identified more than 80 -- many more than authorities had acknowledged.

After the newspaper's report, readers called in with details about additional fires, bringing the unofficial total to 85.

The fire at 28 Carolina St. broke out Jan. 20, 2008, at 2:22 a.m., when someone stuck rolled-up paper between a foundation and porch and set it on fire, according to a Fire Department incident report.

The 34 Morris St. fire was notable because of what happened a year later. Shortly before 6 a.m. on July 17, 2005, someone placed a mattress against a gas meter and set it on fire. The second fire was included on the city's inventory.

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