String of fire incidents under investigation

12/11/2012

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Both law enforcement and fire officials are investigating a handful of fires that appear to be the work of arsonists.

Since Nov. 9, investigators believe that five fires in the Garden City area have been the result of arson.

It is currently unclear whether all five are related, but investigators have gotten leads regarding the first two fires, which involved two vacant mobile homes on East U.S. Highway 50. The first of those two incidents took place Nov. 9. At that time, Garden City Fire Chief Allen Shelton said it was believed to be arson because the mobile home was vacant, had no utilities hooked up to it and the fire began on the exterior. There were no injuries, and the estimated loss was $500.

The second incident occurred Nov. 17 at a vacant residence at 4101 E. U.S. Highway 50, Lot 486. There were no injuries, and the loss was unavailable as of press time.

Reagle said that these two incidents appear to be the work of the same suspects.

"We have identified two kids, aged 8 and 11," he said, adding that no arrests have been made yet.

Three other incidents of suspected arson have occurred in the northeast part of town. Reagle said it is unknown whether they are related to the two mobile home fires.

Two of those fires took place between 5:45 and 6 p.m. on Nov. 20. The first incident occurred at 5:45 p.m. in the 2100 block of Buffalo Heights, when someone set fire to a tree and grass at a residence. There were no injuries and the estimated loss was $500. The second incident occurred at 6 p.m. in the 900 block of East Fair Street, when someone set fire to a wooden fence behind a residence. There were no injuries, and the estimated loss was $1,000.

In another incident that occurred between 8:30 and 8:40 p.m. Dec. 2 in the 1800 block of Sequoyah Drive, someone set fire to grass and a fence. There were no injuries, and the estimated loss in that case was $3,400.

All of the fires are being investigated by the Garden City fire and police departments.

"We're both working on them at the same time," Shelton said. "It's an ongoing investigation. Until we conclude it, we won't give out any information."

Reagle said that people should be aware and report any type of suspicious activity to law enforcement.

"It's difficult to prevent someone from doing this, but we want people to report any suspicious activity, any suspicious persons that they see," he said. "If they think somebody is in the neighborhood that looks suspicious to them or is acting suspiciously, we don't want people to take the chance of not reporting it because they don't want to bother us. We would rather come out and make sure nothing's going on than to not come out and have something happen."

Reagle said the GCPD currently has no leads or suspects in the latter three incidents.

If anyone has any information about any of the incidents, they are encouraged to call the GCPD at 276-1300.¬ If they wish to remain anonymous, they can call Crime Stoppers at 275-7807, or text GCTIP and their tip to 847411 (tip411).

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