Six suspicious fires investigated as arson

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Firefighters say six suspicious fires were set early Saturday between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. in North Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood.

These include: two house fires, two vehicle fires, one recycling bin, and one abandoned chair in a parking lot. Two more incidents — where rocks were thrown into car windshields —  occurred within the hour. No one was injured in any of the incidents.

The vandalism spree stretched from the area of North Hodge Avenue and Houghton Street to North Portsmouth Avenue and Lombard Street.

According to surveillance footage, the suspect appears to be an African American male, possibly in his 20s with a slender build, wearing a red over white hoodie and baggy jeans.

A spokesman for the Portland Fire Bureau said one of the fires was reported around 3:15 a.m. near the intersection of North Newark and North Haven. When firefighters got on scene, they found a vehicle on fire, officials said.

A burned out Mercedes has police tape around it near McCoy Park in North Portland. (Jonathan Simmons, KOIN)
A burned out Mercedes has police tape around it near McCoy Park in North Portland. (Jonathan Simmons, KOIN)

At 3:57 a.m. another fire was reported in the 8900 block of North Hodge Avenue. Firefighters found a car on fire and some of the flames had spread to the attached garage, a fire official said. The fire was quickly put out and all of the residents were able to safely evacuate.

A third fire was reported at 4:29 a.m. in the 5200 block of North Lombard, fire officials confirmed. Firefighters responded after neighbors flagged down a Portland police officer of a chair on fire behind the AM-PM convenience store.

In one of the fires, a boat was significantly damaged, investigators said.

Homeowner Stephanie Dowell said her garage had substantial damage and that her father’s truck was a total loss.

“All my clothes smell like smoke and my dad’s truck is probably totaled,” said Dowell.

“My whole garage was on fire, my dad’s entire truck was on fire and yeah it’s terrifying,” said Dowell.

Anyone who lives in the areas of the fires and saw anything suspicious, including burn marks of a fire, or potential evidence, is asked to call the non-emergency line at 503.823.3333 and ask to speak with an officer. Residents should call 911 if the fire is smoldering or active.

A fire official said members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives may assist with the investigation since it is potentially a criminal matter.

“Portland fire does not have an official dollar estimate at this time,” Ron Rouse, Public Information Officer.

“There was an earlier at Columbia Park it is not connected –we investigated it but it was not same person,” Ron Rouse, Public Information Officer.



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