Suspicious fires hit two Bloomington blocks

Bloomington police are saying little, but neighbors are nervous that they might be next.

Bloomington police are investigating a string of suspicious fires on two blocks of Oakland Avenue S. that escalated from vehicle fires over the Memorial Day weekend to a blaze Sunday morning that left a home uninhabitable.

All of the fires, which began May 26, have occurred on the 9300 and 9400 blocks of Oakland between 1 and 7 a.m.

The Bloomington Fire Marshal's office is investigating, and police have increased patrols in the area, but they're saying little about the nature of the fires while the investigation continues.

"It started with vehicles, then a garage and a shed, and now a house," said Deputy Police Chief Rick Hart. "We want it to stop."

So far, no one has been hurt in the blazes.

Two neighbors reached by phone said the two Oakland blocks have always been peaceful and that they're mystified by the apparent arsons. Neither wanted to be quoted by name.

"I sure as hell don't sleep well; I'm lucky I haven't been hit," one neighbor said. "It seems kind of random, and it makes absolutely no sense to me."

The first two fires were started early on the morning of May 26 involving vehicles parked on the street or in driveways. The next day, a vehicle on the 9300 block of Oakland burned shortly before 2 a.m.

On May 29, another vehicle was burned on the 9300 block around 4:30 a.m. Nearly two weeks later, a garage on the 9300 block and a shed on the 9400 block burned between 4 and 5 a.m. on June 10 and 11.

The house fire was reported Sunday at 6:08 a.m. The residents were not home at the time, but Hart said the damage has made the house uninhabitable.

The cause of that fire is still being investigated.

A neighbor said people are leaving on every outdoor light they can at night.

"We're all very nervous; it's scary," the resident said.

Police are asking anyone with information to call police detective Steve Anda at 952-563-8856.

Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380

Twitter: @smetan

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