Two suspicious Richmond fires under investigation

By Gene Petriello - bio | email | facebook

RICHMOND, VA. (WWBT) -- Two fires, on the same day, in the 1400 block of North 19th Street in Church Hill on Wednesday, have investigators meeting right now to determine who is responsible for it all.

We are learning this is the first time in a long time that fire investigators have been dealing with this kind of situation. Both of the homes are abandoned homes.

Broken windows, screens shattered, siding melted and condemned notices. All visible signs of two suspicious fires that has neighbors like Paul Mondrey are asking questions.

"We couldn't figure it out. One fire there. And then another fire later," Mondrey said.

The first fire that happened around 12:50 Wednesday afternoon. Fire crews said the fire was inside the home. Then, about seven hours later, and less than 100 feet away, a second suspicious fire on the same block. Fire crews say when they arrived here, the basement was on fire.

"It raises a lot of suspicion when you have two fires, steps away and in the same community," says Lt. Shawn Jones with the Richmond Fire Department.

Now, fire crews are working to see if there are any dots to connect between these two fires. "We want to make sure we talk to the neighbors and the people around here to find out if they noticed anything suspicious," adds Jones.

"It's so close to our home, that's why I'm really concerned. I always keep and eye out. 6 a.m., I'm out here walking around," adds Mondrey.

He's not the only one. Fire crews are now keeping a close eye on the area, as well.

"It puts us on guard for what could happen next. Is this just two separate incidents or do we have a repeat offender here," says Lt. Jones.

People living in the neighborhood hope there is not a repeat offender. Many are looking for answers, soon.

"Something is going on and I can't put my finger on it," Mondrey said.

Fire crews are asking you, the neighbors, if you see anything suspicious to call the fire or police department and let them know what's going on.

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