Investigators probe cause of four separate house fires in Sanford
By Jackie Orozco, Reporter
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
Authorities in Seminole County are investigating four separate fires which they say may be connected. Each fire was set in close proximity to the others in the early hours of Thursday morning. Fire officials have confirmed that at least two of the fires are the result of arson.
Tom Freeman lives a few blocks from the now charred structure that once was Little Red School House on Palmetto Avenue in Sanford. It was set ablaze sometime around 2 a.m.
"I live on 10th street. It's kind of nerve-racking," he said. "It's kind of disturbing."
Not long after firefighters extinguished the school house fire, a call came in around 4 a.m., reporting another fire at a vacant home on Maple Avenue, which is a little over a mile away from the location of the first fire.
"We're currently working both of these as suspicious fires," said Lieutenant Paul Paterson with the Bureau of Fire & Arson Investigations. "We've had our K9 team come out and work the scene with the accelerant-detection dogs, and we took samples to send to our laboratory."
Within an hour of the second fire, firefighters rushed to a third location at on North Ronald Reagan Boulevard, but it didn't end there, as a fourth fire popped up at yet another vacant home on Hester Avenue around 6 a.m. All four fires are within a couple of miles of each other and all were wooden structures. This has authorities worried, in part, because it comes just days after firefighters battled two other suspicious fires. "We're still in the beginning phase of the investigation," said Lt. Paterson.
All of the homes had no power, so investigators believe this is another indication that the fires were intentionally set. They're asking the public to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477) if you know anything about these fires.