9 Fires Deemed Arson/1 Under Investigation

POSTED BY: Emily Baird
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - 05:23 PM
Looking for Arsonist(s)

The State Fire Marshall's Office says there are now nine confirmed arsons in the city of Newark with one fire still under investigation.

All 10-fires have happened within a span of less than two weeks. The latest two fires occurred early this morning.

WHIZ's Emily Baird explains why these incidents have Newark residents on-edge.

"Who wants to have a fire next door to your house or wherever? So, it's definitely concerning, " says Newark resident Megan McLouth.

"What's going to happen when they catch one on fire, and it catches the next door house on fire, and there's people in that one? They're going to kill someone. Hopefully, they catch them and put them away, " says Newark resident Ryan Schwarz.

State Fire Marshall's Office Public spokesman, Shane Cartmill, says that is authorities' biggest concern.

"The pattern of arson indicates that fires do escalate from abandoned structures to occupied structures, and we have seen at least one occupied structure so far that was set on fire, " says Cartmill.

Schwarz lives on East Main Street, where three of the fires have occurred and says he's worried about his family's home, which sits right next to a vacant home.

"We're just wondering if that one's going to be next. It's right beside our house, " says Schwarz.

The Newark Fire Department initially received a call around 2:15 this morning on a structure fire, right outside of the downtown area.

"You could see flames come out of the top of the house. They were coming out pretty good, " says Schwarz.

Crews arrived here at 305 East Main Street early this morning, and as crews began battling the blaze, they noticed flames coming behind the home on Bolen Court.

"It's less than a block away and easily visible, " says Cartmill.

Crews initially responding to the East Main Street fire were forced to split up to battle both blazes at the same time.

Cartmill says the investigation of the vacant house on Bolen Court led authorities to believe the fire was intentionally set. Cartmill says a trained accelerant K-9 came in this afternoon and found the fire had multiple points of origin.

He says authorities also found crucial evidence, and he says authorities are asking for your help.

"We also have information that leads us to believe that people know something about this fire, " says Cartmill.

There are no known suspects at this time.

"Right now, we cannot confirm that we are looking for just one person. We are going to continue to consider all possibilities, " says Cartmill.

Cartmill says to be on the look out for anything out and the ordinary.

McLouth says the scare is enough to keep her aware of her surroundings.

"It's certainly a different time in this world that we're living in, " says McLouth.

I'm Emily Baird for WHIZ News.

Last night's fire at 305 East Main Street is still under investigation.


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