Montgomery County arsonist strikes 9 times in one morning

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nine fires set within minutes of each other has authorities in two Montgomery County townships very concerned.

The first fires broke out at the Blair Mill Apartments on Blair Mill Road in Upper Moreland Township early Saturday morning. And while crews were putting those out, they discovered more fires across the street at the Blair Mill Village apartments in Horsham.

"Somebody's mad. Somebody is mad at somebody," said Horsham Township Fire Marshal George Fida.

But who and why they are mad enough to start fires is a mystery.

The nine fires came in rapid succession at the two complexes that are under common management Saturday morning.

No sooner had a fire crew stopped a dumpster blaze when they "heard screams for help coming from the adjacent building at 102 Upland," said Fida. The screams came from "people from the second floor window, with a fire in the laundry room located in the basement."

At the sprawling Blair Mill apartments on the Upper Moreland side of the street, the favorite target has been small laundry rooms. Four were hit on Saturday.

The small attached rooms are often left unlocked, like one Action News found Monday. Fire officials say that is not good.

"The laundry rooms have locks. However, some of them weren't locked and that's the bottom line," said Upper Moreland Fire Marshal Robert Drennen.

Back in September 2010 in Horsham, someone one started a fire in a school dumpster and at one of the laundry rooms at Blair Mill Village.

"That case remains open to this day," said Fida. "We weren't able to charge anybody with that crime, and certainly the possibility we're looking into is to see if these were connected in any way," said Fida.

Authorities say it is fortunate that no one has been injured in these fires, but they know that with arson things can quickly turn ugly.

They are urging people in the apartment complexes to keep those laundry rooms locked, to keep a sharp eye out at all times, and if they see or learn anything unusual to call police.

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