Dec 4, 2014
Oct 30, 2014
Oct 2, 2014
Sep 25, 2014
Laconia officials continue to investigate suspicious fires
LACONIA — Police and fire officials continue to investigate a dozen suspicious fires, one that caused close to $2 million in damage, occurring over a six-week period beginning Sept. 22, with the most recent occurring in the early morning hours on Oct. 30.
Police Capt. Bill Clary, who is heading the city’s investigation, said each blaze is being investigated as a standalone fire; none have yet been linked.
The first fire happened about 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 22 at the Skate Escape, 161 Court St., a 60,000-square-foot building that housed several other businesses including Northern Electric, Little Caesar’s Pizza, ABC Fabrication and the linen laundry facility for Lakes Region General Hospital.
Fire Chief Ken Erickson said initially the damage was estimated at about $1 million but is expected to climb to about $2 million. Skate Escape, he said, had just moved out of the building.
About 4½ hours later that same morning and about 1,000 feet away, another building caught fire on Bay Street which, Erickson said, firefighters quickly extinguished.
Things were quiet in the city until six days later when on Sept. 28 at 2:16 a.m., a fire was reported at Pitman Freight Room, 94 New Salem St., not far from the Laconia police station. Simultaneously, three other fires were reported in a Dumpster, a shed and a fence in an alley within 500 feet of the jazz club.
Erickson said initially it was reported that two buildings were on fire because of the blazing Dumpster, which rested against Hector’s Restaurant.
“Boy, you fly out of bed when you hear that,” Erickson said.
Firefighters kept the blaze from damaging Hector’s, the chief said.
That same night at 8:48 p.m., the vacant Christmas Island Resort Motel was heavily damaged in another multi-alarm blaze that caused an estimated $600,000 in damage. The motel, Erickson said, was slated to be demolished.
Then, about 3 a.m. on Oct. 30, fire struck the Pitman Freight Room for the second time. Repairs had only just been completed and the owners were readying to reopen Halloween night when flames caused another $30,000 in damage. Several other fires were also set that morning in the alley behind the old factory buildings on Water Street.
In all, Erickson said there have been 12 separate fires — four of them multi-alarm blazes. All but one of them — the Christmas Island Motel fire — took place between 2 and 3 a.m. in the downtown area of the city. All of the fires are within walking distance of each other.
Erickson said in the late 1980s and early 1990s an arsonist caused a series of major fires in the city. And then, he said, they just stopped. No one was ever arrested.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was involved in the investigation into the fire at the Christmas Island Resort Motel. Police, fire and the state Fire Marshal’s Office are jointly investigating all of the blazes.
Investigators are seeking the public’s help in solving the arsons. Anyone with information is asked to call police, fire or the Greater Laconia Crime Line, where calls to 524-1717 may remain anonymous.
READER COMMENTS: 1
- Maine police search car belonging to husband of Londonderry shooting victim - 0
- Man arrested after chase, threatening to shoot police in Bow - 0
- Good Samaritan pins Manchester purse snatcher - 0
- Police look for Laconia sub shop robber - 0
- Claremont man indicted on two charges of arson - 0
- Police hunt pair they believe attacked couple at Rochester motel - 0
- Phone evidence likely allowed in Hampstead home invasion trial - 0
- Grand jury indicts one of three men accused in murder of Madbury teen - 0
- Piano teacher wants statement tossed before sex assault trial - 1
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Homeless man who saved woman from river: 'I don't consider myself a hero' - 9
- High School Basketball: Rivalries renewed in QCIBT - 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: Will they get everything on their list? - 0
- Tuohy brothers add new restaurant in familiar spot - 0
- New Horizons volunteers deliver groceries and good cheer, making Christmas special - 0
- Charles Arlinghaus: The fiscal mismanagement in Washington is a choice - 25
- 'Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus' - 0
Londonderry schools placed on lockdown after soldier's unplanned visit to high school causes alarm
Police say woman tried to steal 15 iPads
- Whom do you think bears the brunt of the blame for the mayhem this weekend in Keene?
- KSC students
- KSC administration
- Visitors from out of town
- A combination of any/all of the above
- Total Votes: 2483