Mitchell: ‘Possibility’ City Dealing with Serial Arsonist
NEW BEDFORD — With three suspicious fires in twenty-four hours in New Beford--and a total of six in the past month--New Bedford may be dealing with a serial arsonist.
The most recent fires came Tuesday night, at a house located at 78 Penniman Street and a car fire at 148 Tallman Street. There was another suspicious fire Monday night at 140 Hathaway Street, as well as suspicious fires on July 22nd on Adams Street and July 31 on Coggeshall Street. On August 2, there was a suspected arson case in the 400 block of Sawyer Street as well. There were also four car fires in June that were considered arson cases.
On his weekly program, "Midweek with Mayor Mitchell" hosted by Barry Richard, Mayor Jon Mitchell stopped short of saying he thinks the city has a serial arsonist on its hands.
"I think people should be alert to that possibility," he said, noting the investigation is ongoing. "Look, it's hard to say definitively, but there's been a series of fires, and not to alarm people, especially in the near North End, but if people are seeing suspicious stuff going on, err on the side of caution by calling the police."
The mayor said New Bedford Police Officer Steve Wadman, who is assigned to investigating suspicious fires, is working in conjunction with the New Bedford Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal's Office to try to figure out exactly what's going on with this recent rash of fires.
"Police are beefing up their presence in that part of the city, but we need more eyes on the problem," Mitchell said. "Cars and ambulances aren't just spontaneously combusting. Nowadays, there are fewer fires because there are more smoke detectors and sprinklers around, so yeah, it's definitely suspicious. What I would suggest folks do is just be alert, and if you see something, say something."
Anyone with information on the fires is asked to contact New Bedford Police.