Dayton Arson Unit investigating spike in suspicious fires

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Arson Unit here said a Monday morning fire was the latest in a string of suspicious fires recently.

Firefighters battled a small fire in an apartment building addition 2:30 A.M. Monday in the 300 block of Xenia Avenue. Crews quickly extinguished the fire with no injuries and relatively little damage.

Witnesses said a suspicious person was nearby directly before the fire started and investigators arrested Timothy Bowemerister as a suspect in the case. He’s charged with aggravated arson.

The early morning fire came days after another suspicious fire on Church Street Thursday morning. In that case, 3 firefighters suffered minor injuries and a vacant home burned to the ground.

The Dayton Fire Department said it’s responded to 220 structure fires so far in 2017 and 111 of those are being called suspicious.

Since May 28th, the Arson Unit classified 23 of the fires as arson, including the Monday morning Xenia Avenue case.

Residents were living in the Xenia Avenue apartment at the time of the fire, but investigators said in many of the instances, the buildings were empty and neighbors believed squatters had been staying in them.

Dayton Fire estimated at least 40 of the fires in 2017 occurred in vacant structures.

Within the last week, 2 other suspects were arrested in arson cases. Lakeisha Randolph is facing aggravated arson charges in connection to a fire at 495 Rockcliff Circle on June 20th. Coreta Culpepper was arrested for a July 4th fire at 2088 Auburn Avenue.

Dayton Fire investigators are working to see if the suspects or cases are connected.

 

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