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Three 'suspicious' fires doused in Provo early Tuesday morning

Published April 22, 2014 8:07 am

Arson? • Investigators are trying to determine if the blazes are tied to previous arson attempts.
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Fire officials are investigating whether three small fires set overnight in Provo are connected to a number of previous arson attempts in the last few weeks.

Provo Fire Chief Gary Jolley said fire crews doused fires set Tuesday morning inside a vehicle and outside two abandoned buildings.

He said firefighters were first called out at about 3:40 a.m. on a report of a fire that had been set near a boarded-up abandoned building located at 5085 W. Center St. While the fire, which was set outside the home, did manage to burn portions of the abandoned building, Jolley said firefighters were able to quickly knock down the flames, limiting damage.

Less than an hour later, firefighters were called to the area of 550 W. 600 South, where a car was fully engulfed in flames. At 4:55 a.m. — less than 10 minutes after the car fire was reported — a burning debris pile was reported near another abandoned home at 400 W. 500 South.

Jolley said no one was injured in the blazes. He said investigators were looking at the scenes to determine how the fires started and whether they are connected to a number of fires that were started recently in several buildings near the Shops at Riverwoods.

"We know they are suspicious," he said. "We know they were set intentionally. We just don't know why or by who. We don't know if [Tuesday's fires] are connected to our recent fires. We are working to determine that."

Since March 24, buildings near 10 W. 4800 North have been set fire three separate times. Investigators believe an arsonist set them.

Jolley said investigators are still early in their work on the most recent fires, but were talking with a witness who saw the car fire Tuesday. Arson dogs are also working the scene, he said.

"They are doing what dogs do best," Jolley said. "Sniffing and smelling to see if there are any accelerants."

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller