Search For Serial Arsonist Heats Up

Thursday, April 12th 2007, 6:55 pm
By: News On 6

The search heats up for a possible serial arsonist. There have been nine fires, all in the span of a week, in the same south Tulsa neighborhood. Fire investigators believe all nine were intentionally set. They aren't sure if they're dealing with one person or several, but the News On 6’s Ashli Sims reports firefighters say they have evidence that these fires are connected.

Fire investigators believe the fiery trail started Wednesday, April 4th, at the Barcelona Apartment Complex. Barcelona resident John Easley says that's when a fence went up in flames.

"We have a privacy fence between this complex and this building next door north of us, and about 3 in the morning, it was suddenly ablaze, and there's just nothing there that would cause it to catch fire unless somebody set it," said Easley.

The following Tuesday another fire was sparked in a dumpster at the Southern Hills Memory Loss Center. On Wednesday, the arsonist went back to the Barcelona Apartments. This time, the targets were occupied apartment units. The first flames were spotted at 9 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, another fire was spotted. By 10:45 a.m., firefighters were battling a third fire. Investigators say this was bold because whoever started the fires had to have set them while firefighters were on the scene.

At about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, the arsonist struck again. Fire investigators say there were two small fires at LaFortune Park, one in a tree and on some grass, the other in a bathroom. Those fires died out on their own.

An hour later fire crews were called to a nearby Village Inn. The fire department says someone broke into a van, stole a few items and then set it on fire in two places. Those fires were quickly put out, but whoever started it wasn't finished.

Firefighters were then called to the 5400 Apartments. They say someone walked into a vacant apartment through a sliding door and tried to burn something on the stove. Firefighters say the arsonist also tried to set fire to the wall. Both were put out. So far, no one has been hurt.

Tulsa Fire Captain Larry Bowles says there have also recently been 15 to 20 car break-ins in the 51st and Yale area and approximately eight dumpster fires in the past two weeks.

Related stories:

4/11/2007 Multiple Fires Damage Apartment Complex

4/12/2007 Firefighters One Step Behind An Arsonist

4/12/2007 Arsonist Strikes Again

4/12/2007 The Mind Of An Arsonist