MEDFORD — Police are investigating two arson fires that struck west Medford in recent weeks.

MEDFORD — Police are investigating two arson fires that struck west Medford in recent weeks.

"Arson is an unusual crime because when there is one, there are usually more," Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said. "A suspect who has a desire to light fires often does several."

The first fire was discovered at about 7:40 p.m. Feb. 18 in a laundry room at an apartment complex at 1510 W. Main St. Someone poured a flammable liquid into a trash can and lit it.

The flames were quickly discovered and tackled by neighbors, who also called the Medford Fire Department, Budreau said. The fire caused extensive damage to the laundry room, but was stopped before it spread to a natural gas line in the room.

Another fire was reported at about 4:40 a.m. Sunday in the 400 block of North Columbus Avenue. The suspect threw a rock through the window of a 1993 Ford Escort parked in a driveway next to the car owner's home. Then, the suspect poured a flammable substance into the car and lit it, Budreau said.

The car was destroyed by the flames, which firefighters stopped before they spread to the adjacent house.

"From the trash can to a car, this is escalating if it is the same person," Budreau said.

Investigators think the fires could be related because they are in the same general area.

Police ask anyone with information about the fires to call investigators at 774-2230 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-333-8328 (1-800-3-DETECT).