WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) - Police were investigating a blaze Monday
that destroyed a detached garage as the city's 11th arson fire
since late May, but the police chief says some of the details are
not consistent with the earlier fires.
The fire, discovered late Saturday, was four blocks further
north than any other fire, Police Chief William Brandimore said.
"This is a little different sort of pattern. We don't know
quite where it fits," he said. "It appears there was an illegal
entry of the garage, and the cars had been rifled (through)."
Investigators suspect more than one person may have been
involved because a neighbor reported hearing people run down train
tracks behind the house shortly before the flames were noticed,
police said.
Police believe a serial arsonist has set fires to eight garages
and two vacant houses on the city's east side since May 28. One
garage fire was set on the west side.
No one has been seriously hurt, but a firefighter was slightly
injured at one fire June 1.
Police have not said how they believe the fires were started but
are urging residents in the area to stay alert, lock garages, keep
outdoor lights on at night and call police if they notice anything
suspicious.
A $10,000 reward is available for information leading to the
arrest and conviction of the arsonist.
Jim Lex owned the garage burned Saturday. He said he had just
put his 7-year-old son to bed when a neighbor pounded on the door
and alerted him to the fire that destroyed the garage and three
vehicles.
"It's just incredible," Lex said. "This guy has got to be
stopped."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)