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Suspected arson sets Lone Pine Park bathroom ablaze

What sounded like an explosion awoke several residents near Lone Pine Park just after 3 a.m. today when the park's cement public bathroom caught fire.

Medford police said the fire was set intentionally with an accelerant. Because the structure is made of cement, the fire only caused minor damage.

"Luckily it didn't ignite," said Medford police Sgt. Mike Budreau. "It just burned itself out."

No one was hurt.

Budreau said the structure looks like it's made of wood, leading police to suspect the perpetrators intended to burn it down.

"Some of the people that do arsons, they are driven by watching stuff burn," Budreau said.

Neighbors said they saw a silver compact car, possibly a Honda or Toyota, leaving the scene, but weren't able to get a license plate number.

This is the second suspected arson in two weeks, police said.

Police also suspect that a fire that gutted a significant portion of a West 12th Street duplex early on Sept. 27 could be arson.

The fire started in a shed and spread into the duplex's attic and interior. Fire investigators have ruled out other common causes of accidental fires, such as electrical problems, Budreau said. Police have interviewed a "person of interest," and Budreau said the unnamed individual has been cooperating during the investigation.

Police don't yet know if the two suspicious fires are related, but gang activity is not believed to have played a part in either, he said.

"The question is are we dealing with an arsonist or kids making bad decisions?" Budreau said.

Anyone with information regarding either incident is asked to call the Medford police department at 541-774-2200.