Police classify 3 local fires as arson

MEDFORD — Police are investigating three suspicious fires in West Medford that damaged storage sheds and out-buildings.

On July 4, police responded to two suspicious blazes within two hours. The first fire burned a utility shed at 827 Krissy Dee. The second blaze consumed a maintenance building nearby at 1130 Stowe Ave.

No one was hurt by the fires, though there were homes nearby in both cases.

"We are pretty sure these fires are linked by the same suspect," Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said. "They were too close together and resembled each other too much for us to think otherwise."

Two weeks later, the Medford Fire Department was dispatched to a burning shed behind a residence at 59 N. Orange St.

Investigators suspect that fire was sparked by the same person responsible for the previous two blazes, Doney said.

Detectives were able to locate a surveillance video from a home near the Orange Street address. The video shows a man driving down the alley near the same time the storage shed was torched.

Police are trying to determine the man's identity.

"We don't know if he was responsible or just driving in the area," Doney said. "Either way, we would like to contact him to eliminate him as a suspect."

All three have been classified as arson by the Medford Fire Department.

"These fires, though relatively small, are still dangerous and can spread quickly to houses," Doney said.

Fire investigators have been busy this year with 12 suspicious fires reported since February, Doney said.

"We don't think all 12 are related," Doney said. "But they do have us concerned."

Arson is a felony that carries stiff fines and possibly a prison sentence upon conviction, Doney said.

The fires have been reported in bushes, in roadways and along the interstate.

"We've had reports of people pouring flammable liquids in the road and lighting it," Doney said. "It's been a busy year for us."

Anyone with information on any of the fires is asked to call Medford police detectives at 770-4784.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471 or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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