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MailTribune.com
  • Newest Medford fires may lift arson total to 17

  • Three fires that sprang to life Saturday morning in south-central Medford were human-caused and likely will be ruled arsons, a fire official said.
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  • Three fires that sprang to life Saturday morning in south-central Medford were human-caused and likely will be ruled arsons, a fire official said.
    Two of the fires were lit in piles of trash in an alley between Franquette Street and Riverside Avenue, and a third was near the CK Enterprises building at the intersection of the 13th Street and Central Avenue.
    Firefighters responded to a report of a fire burning in the alley between Riverside and Franquette at about 6:30 a.m., dispatch records show.
    "I would label them all suspicious fires," said Rick Rohrbough, battalion chief from Medford Fire-Rescue. "Whoever this individual is is getting everybody ramped up."
    This trio of fires, if determined to have been intentionally set, would up the count to 17 arsons in Medford since June 25.
    Rohrbough said an engine was responding to one of the two alley fires when firefighters looked up and saw a column of smoke pushing into the sky from near the CK Enterprises building.
    "There were at that little nothing fire when then looked up and saw a column ... on the other side of Central," Rohrbough said.
    That fire, Rohrbough said, burned the outside wall of a building owned by Naumes Inc. and several wooden pear shipping boxes stacked on the property.
    A small parking area separates the CK Enterprises building from the Naumes Inc. property.
    Police said they have upped patrols in their hunt for a suspect and are urging Medford residents to remain on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
    Most of the fires have been set in the early-morning hours, between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
    One of three arson fires set on July 15 was lit on the outside of an occupied home, while a woman was asleep inside. She awoke at 4 a.m. to the glow of flames and the snap of burning wood and ran from the home uninjured as firefighters rushed to the scene.
    Any information about the case should be reported to Medford police Detective Tony Young at 541-774-2230.
    Police believe arsons may have started with the massive inferno that leveled a former fruit-packing plant in downtown Medford on June 25.
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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