Officials investigating 2 arson fires

Salina Journal – December 26, 2013

Salina police and fire officials are investigating aggravated arsons that occurred on the stairways of two Salina apartment buildings, one Monday and one on Christmas Day.

Occupants of an apartment in a building at 308 S. Fourth noticed a strange odor at 9:05 p.m. Monday. They exited the apartment and discovered that the stairs to an unoccupied upper-floor apartment were on fire, said Salina Fire Department investigator Troy Long.

Long said Ashes, the fire department’s trained dog, indicated that an accelerant had been used, and a sample was collected for analysis in the Kansas Bureau of Investigation laboratory.

Long said that no one was injured, but people living in the building had to be evacuated because gas and water service to the building were shut off.  He said the fire caused little structural damage, but he estimated the cost of overall damage at about $3,000.

At 8:36 p.m. Wednesday, occupants of an apartment in a building at 209 E. Mulberry smelled smoke and discovered two cardboard boxes on fire in the stair landing, Long said.

A person in the apartment grabbed a fire extinguisher and put the blaze out before firefighters arrived, he said. He said the fire damaged the carpet on the stairway landing.

Long said the boxes had been left in a lower floor hallway by a downstairs tenant and had been moved upstairs before they were lit on fire. He said Ashes indicated the presence of an accelerant, and a sample is being tested at the KBI lab.

Long said residents were able to return to their apartments after exhaust fans were used to clear smoke. He estimated damage at $300.

Both buildings are owned by Mark Booher, Long said.

www.ksffa.com

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