Medford fire could be work of serial arsonist

Apossible encore to a string of small arson fires roared to life in west Medford on Wednesday evening, with flames torching a fence, dry grass and the side of a vacant home before fire crews had it under control.

The fire was reported at 6:15 p.m. in an alley behind 1704 W. Main St., just down the street from Black Bird. Fire crews responded to the home with four engines, but only one was needed to extinguish the blaze that damaged part of the vacant home's exterior.

How to help

Anyone with information about the suspected arsons is asked to contact Detective Tony Young of Medford police at 541-774-2230.

"The firefighters put it out as it was climbing the garage," said Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg.

Kleinberg said the cause remains undetermined. Medford police suspect the fire was set by the same person who lit four others early Wednesday morning, though the blaze was not in the same immediate area as the original fires.

"It is suspicious, of course, based on the four arsons we had the same day," Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.

The previous fires were reported between about 4:30 and 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. Crews first responded to 320 N. Holly St. for a report of several hay bales on fire near a fence. Firefighters extinguished the flames and were immediately summoned to nearby 444 N. Grape St. at 4:53 a.m. Crews doused a shed fire at that location.

At 5:17 a.m., firefighters responded to a fence fire behind 535 Pennsylvania Ave., which they were able to knock down before the flames reached an outbuilding.

The final morning fire was reported at 6:38 a.m. in an alley behind an apartment complex at 329 N. Holly St. and damaged a storage shed's interior.

Budreau said the morning fires were snuffed before any serious damage occurred, but said the 1704 W. Main St. fire was more severe.

"This was an example of the damage that can be caused," he said.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.


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