5 Fires in Phoenix neighborhood; 4 confirmed as arson

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX – Investigators are searching for the person who started a series of fires in a Phoenix neighborhood early Thursday morning.

The fires were reported in the area north of Thomas Road and south of Indian School Road between 28th and 36th streets.

The first fire was reported at 2 a.m.

Within less than three hours, two cars, debris in an alley, and one apartment burned in four separate fires.

“Certainly suspicious,” Capt. Larry Nuñez of the Phoenix Fire Department told 3TV's Tess Rafols at 5:30 a.m. “At this point, three of them are determined to be arson.”

Investigators later determined the apartment fire that happened in the same general area as the three arson fires was accidental and not connected to the other incidents. Early indications are that a cigarette on a couch sparked the fire.

The residents were not home when flames gutted their apartment.

A fifth fire -- this one set on the back of a truck -- was reported in the area of 20th Street near McDowell Road shortly before 6:30 a.m. Just a short distance from the other fires, crews consider that incident suspicious, as well.

"Fire crews did notice some things at the scene [of 20th Street and McDowell Road], some materials and some odor in the air that obviously gave them the idea that there may be some arson-type followings there," Nuñez said. "They called in arson investigators ...."

Video from the scene showed evidence markers on the ground by some plastic zipper bags. Firefighters believe there was some kind of accelerant in the bags.

The owner of the truck told 3TV's Yetta Gibson that she spotted the fire while getting her kids ready for school and immediately called 911.

Police are investigating, as well, scouring the neighborhood for any suspects.

Fire crews have been able to deal with each of the fires quickly and no injuries have been reported, but Nuñez said both the police and fire departments are concerned.

“If they’re brazen enough to go around the neighborhood and start these types of pop-up fires, we never know what could be next,” Nuñez said.

If you have seen anything or know who might be responsible, please call 602-26-ARSON (262-7766) or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377).

4 suspicious fires

  • 28th Street and Osborn Road -- white car on school property
  • 30th Street and Whitton Avenue (north of Osborn Road) -- car underneath carport
  • 32nd Street and Osborn Road -- debris in alley (spotted by police officer)
  • 20th Street and McDowell Road -- back of flatbed truck