Topeka arsons cause concern for neighbors

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Two Topeka garages intentionally set on fire within just three miles of the other has some people concerned about their own properties. Fire Marshal Michael Martin says the two garage fires were likely set by two different people. One happened on Plass Avenue. The other just three miles from there on NE Scotland. But Tuesday, neighbors and officials talked to KSNT News about the two recent arsons.

“It makes me think there is a lot of other things that go on that I don’t know about,” Andre Jones, a neighbor said.

Andre Jones lives 5 houses down on Plass Avenue from where someone set fire to this garage Monday night. Jones has lived here for around 2 years and has not seen anything like this before.

“It’s crazy that there is people out there doing destructive things like to this level,” Jones said.

Jones is not the only person who is looking for answers, as Fire Marshal Michael Martin also has questions.

Martin says there have been about 40 intentionally set fires in Topeka like grass fires, dumpster fires, and also home and garage fires total.

“We just seem to have had a lot in a pretty close time,” Fire Marshal Michael Martin said.

About a dozen of the intentionally set fires have resulted in arrests.  Mainly because those homes aren’t occupied.

“We are having to deal with a lot of vacant and abandon structures and that seems to be primarily where fires are occurring in those structures,” Martin said.

Councilwoman Karen Hiller even spoke with me about the two vacant garages being set on fire in one night.

“It is disturbing to see them happening with in a day of one another,” Councilwoman Karen Hiller said.

And finding who burned down both garages leaves neighbors very concerned.

“It makes me wonder if my garage is going to be the next one burnt,” Jones said.

Fire Marshal Michael Martin also says there have been 7 fires here on Plass Avenue alone since January. The fire department is still investigating them but says the only connection between them is that they are on the same street.

The Topeka Fire Department even tweeted a reminder earlier today to lock unoccupied buildings as they could be targets for arsonists. No suspects have been arrested in either case and the investigation is on-going.

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