September 22, 2014

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Lorain fire chief deems vacant home fires suspicious

LORAIN — A series of small fires have been set in vacant houses — many of which were boarded up —around the 1700 block of East 30th Street in the past few weeks.

“In my opinion they’re all arson cases,” Lorain Fire Chief Tom Brown said, explaining that the houses are abandoned and have no working electricity or gas. “Fires don’t just start on their own.”

The latest fire occurred 11:34 p.m. on Monday evening at 1772 East 30th St. — a house that has been vacant for more than a year and was the site in May of both a fire and a break-in.

Monday’s fire was small and originated in the kitchen, Brown said.

There was another fire at another house a week ago, and two fires the week before that at two others. All four incidents occurred at separate vacant houses around the 1700 block of East 30th Street.

Brown said all of the fires have been relatively small, but he’s worried that they won’t stay that way.

“I just have a great fear that someone is going to do a better job at lighting fires,” Brown said.

To prevent further fires and break-ins, the Lorain Fire Department has tried to keep the houses boarded up. However, they call for help from neighbors and Lorain residents.

“If neighbors see people going in and out of (vacant houses), they’re breaking in. (Witnesses) should report it to the Police or Fire department,” Brown said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com.