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10 suspicious fires in 5 minutes in Duncan

Duncan_State fire marshal agents spent Friday in Duncan after ten fires were set in a span of five minutes Thursday.

Police and firefighters were first called to a vacant house fire at 3rd and Willow just after 3pm. Minutes later, a string of grassfires were called in along 5th Street that spanned several blocks.

Police and state agents are investigating these fires as arson and believe all the fires may be the work of one person or group of people.

The house was vacant and had no running electricity or gas. The first of the string of grass fires was set only a mile away from the initial house fire.

"Whenever we got the initial structure fire, it was within five minutes that we were receiving calls of multiple grass fire up 5th Street," said Duncan Police Detective John Byers.

Byers says the state fire marshal's office was immediately called in when it became clear these fires were no accident.

"We counted nine different areas that were set on fire from 5th and Chestnut to Blackjack on 5th."

Byers says, fortunately, the house was vacant when someone set fire to it, but says it could have done a lot more damage.

"The older houses are more of wood construction instead of brick so it could spread very easily from one house to another--even into some of our businesses, because we are just a block from Main Street," Det. Byers said.

But while no one was hurt inside, Byers said the homeowner was devastated once he learned the news.

"He had a lot of old family heirlooms, a lot of his dad's and granddad's things in the house as storage. His father had passed away a short time ago and he was storing them there while living in another town.  So, it's a huge loss for him, possibly not money-wise, but emotionally."

Byers says despite the chaos the multiple fires caused, state agents and police believe they will make an arrest.

"We have a few leads. We had one individual that had a home surveillance system video that she saw a vehicle pull up stop and saw grass fire started."

On that surveillance video, a white Suburban was captured driving away from the grass fire. Police are presently studying it closely to see if they can identify the driver or anyone else inside.

Police ask if you witnessed any suspicious activity near 5th Street, or 3rd and Willow, Thursday afternoon to contact them at 580-255-2112.

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