Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Long Hot Summer: Happy Fourth

Utica's arson epidemic reached a new peak yesterday, with two definite and one probable arson erupting almost simultaneously:

Two out of the three fires that erupted late Friday night were intentionally set, and the third has been ruled suspicious, Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks said Saturday.

All three fires were called in within a 45-minute period - from 11:15 p.m. to midnight - and resulted in Utica firefighters using the county mutual aid program in which suburban fire department are called in. New York Mills and New Hartford assisted Friday night.

That's 22 confirmed arson's so far this year, with a possible 23rd pending laboratory tests. More disturbing is the fact that three suspicious fires happened to occur within minutes of each other. Hopefully, this is just a coincidence. If it's not, and the arsonist or arsonists are co-ordinating multiple fires, then things have taken an even more ominous turn.