Third car torched in series of summer arsons

Fire marshal: No information yet to link fires

Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2009

Capital City Fire and Rescue responded early Wednesday morning to a third car intentionally set on fire in about two weeks.

Firefighters got a call at 12:07 a.m. Wednesday that a Honda Civic was on fire on Indian Street downtown near the Governor's Mansion. The fire was quickly extinguished but the vehicle was a total loss.

Fire Marshal Dan Jager said he believes the fire was intentionally set after ruling out the possibility of an electrical or mechanical fire.

Jager is not sure at this point if the case is related to two other vehicles set ablaze late last month.

"At this time we don't have information linking any of the fires to each other," Jager said. "It is a possibility, but right now we don't see a link because these fires have been all over the city."

He's never seen this many vehicle fires in such a short time frame in four years with the department.

"It is unusual," he said. "This year in particular there has been a high number of suspicious or intentionally set fires."

CCFR recently responded to two other intentionally set vehicle fires:

• A minivan was on fire near the Sunny Point overpass around 10 p.m. July 28. Four young adult men and a woman were spotted leaving the scene.

• A small truck was on fire at about 6:30 a.m. July 31 near Mile 19 Glacier Highway.

The total loss of the three vehicles and their contents is about $35,000.

The only commonality between the three intentionally set fires is that they occurred in dark areas at times when few people are around.

Suspected arsons lately haven't been limited to cars.

• Last week, a port-a-potty in Mendenhall Valley's Rotary Park was set on fire.

• On Aug. 1, two people were seen lighting fires around a restroom at the Glacier Valley Elementary School ball field.

• After midnight July 4, a port-a-potty was set on fire by Auke Lake.

• Less than an hour later, two more port-a-potties were set on fire at the Dimond Park ball fields; one of the fires spread to a nearby electrical shack and caused significant damage.

• On June 1, a fire was set in the basement of a multi-unit apartment structure on Basin Road; that building suffered moderate damage, but the fire spread next door and destroyed a single-family home.

Jager wouldn't speculate about the person or people responsible for all the arsons.

"At this time I really don't know," he said.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-3369 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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