PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Firefighters in Portland say they are investigating a string of suspicious fires set in the Laurelhurst, Belmont and Hawthorne neighborhoods from Saturday night to Sunday morning.
Portland Fire & Rescue says it’s too early to confirm a connection, but says these 12 fires appear to be related.
KOIN 6 was told that most of them were set inside people’s trash cans, with one dumpster fire spreading to a nearby convenience store, charring the wall before it was extinguished. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported.
But with a dozen fires set and no suspect in sight, some neighbors are still concerned.
‘It’s scary,” said Julio, who lives near the fires. “I just hope that it’s not a rising trend.”
Danny Moore says he lives directly above one of the 12 potential arson sites being investigated, telling KOIN 6 he heard a fire alarm but thought nothing of it.
“I just thought it was a false alarm, but apparently there was a fire set,” he said.
“These all look to be related. We’re uncertain if they are related even. But it’s a pattern that is noticed by the professionals in our fire investigations unit,” added Rick Graves with PF&R.
The suspicious blazes come two months after officials investigated a string of 14 fires set in south and northeast Portland, which were allegedly set by a suspected serial arsonist who was later found dead.
While Portland Fire says it’s still too early to confirm whether the dozen fires this weekend are connected, they are asking residents to remain vigilant and check security cameras, saying that the close proximity and similarities are enough cause for concern.
“Anytime anybody’s aggressively choosing to set fire to anything, it’s a concern from our standpoint,” Graves said. “That escalates to, ‘what’s the next level?'”
Portland Fire is asking people living near these fires to come forward with any unreported incidents and check surveillance footage.