MEDFORD, Ore. – Medford Police are suspect an overnight garage fire to be the 14th in a string of arsons at vacant homes in west Medford in the past 15 months.
Police and firefighters responded to the home at 400 South Peach Street shortly after 10 p.m. Monday. Firefighters quickly knocked down the flames and crews helped evacuate neighbors, and the flames were contained to the garage. Police said the house was vacant, and a “For Sale” sign stood in the front lawn.
Medford Police said it appears this fire is the work of the same person they think is responsible for 14 arson fires at vacant homes in Medford since January 2012.
In each case, police said the arsonist broke into the building, then set a small fire inside. Police said there has been no evidence of accelerants like gasoline being used to start the fires. By the time the fires grow in size and emergency responders arrive on scene, the suspect is long gone.
“That’s one of the reasons he’s been able to slip out of our grasp,” said Lt. Mike Budreau of Medford Police. “Because by the time we’re arriving here, he’s already fled the scene, and a lot of the evidence is essentially destroyed.”
Police have not made any arrests and have not named a suspect. They are asking anyone living near a vacant home to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and report it to police. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is now offering a $2,500 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.