Fires under investigation

Several structure fires over the past couple of weeks in Seymour have led to an investigation into possible arson.

The Seymour Fire Department, Seymour Police Department and Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office are asking the public for information on fires taking place in the past two weeks on South Park Street, South Vine Street, Noble Street, Haag Lane and Kimberly Avenue.

Three of the fires resulted in nonlife-threatening injuries to occupants of the homes, Fire Chief Brad Lucas said.

The state fire marshal’s office sent two investigators to Seymour on Monday to visit the sites and interview property owners and neighbors.

"I wanted them involved just because there has been so many," Lucas said of the state getting involved. "I don’t suspect a whole lot of arson going on. It’s just very rare that we have this many fires in such a short period of time."

Not all of the blazes likely will be ruled arson, but they are being looked into due to some suspicious factors, Lucas added.

"It’s something different every time. We really don’t suspect arson in all of them, but there’s just a lot of suspicion there," he said. "We are simply asking that if you know anything about these fires to please contact us."

He’s confident somebody knows something.

"People talk," he said.

A reward of up to $5,000 is being made available by the International Association of Arson Investigators — Indiana Chapter 14, Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and Indiana property insurance companies for information that leads to an arrest.

The first incident was a house fire that resulted in an occupant being injured April 21 at 329 S. Park St. Lucas said they are fairly confident that fire was accidental.

On April 29, a garage at 304 Haag Lane caught fire in the early morning hours. Lucas said the outbuilding did not have power, and the fire appeared to have been started from the outside.

Another fire was reported at 3:37 p.m. April 30 at an abandoned home at 611 Noble St.

"There was no electric, no gas, no anything, so it’s definitely suspicious," Lucas said. "Neighbors had complained of squatters in and out of the house many times."

Last weekend, the Seymour Fire Department responded to two fires: A house fire at 4:45 p.m. Saturday at 333 S. Vine St. that resulted in $55,000 damage, and the second was a mobile home fire at 7:13 a.m. Sunday at 38 Kimberly Ave. In both fires, occupants suffered burns or other injuries, and one person was transported to the hospital, Lucas said.

Although some of the fires have happened in neighborhoods that are close to each other, Lucas said he doesn’t necessarily think they are connected.

"I don’t feel that they are related for any reason," he said. "It’s just a lot of strange stuff. We see a lot of the same things happening, but it’s different people involved."

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A $5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in an investigation into five suspicious structure fires in Seymour believed to be the result of possible arson.

  • House fire, April 21, 329 S. Park St.
  • Garage fire, April 29, 304 Haag Lane
  • House fire, April 30, 611 Noble St.
  • House fire, May 2, 333 S. Vine St.
  • Trailer fire, May 3, 38 Kimberly Ave.

Anyone with information can call the International Association of Arson Investigations at 800-382-4628 or the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office 317-504-7148. Tips can be left anonymously.

You also can call the Seymour Fire Department at 812-522-2598 or the Seymour Police Department at 812-522-1234.

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