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Arson Suspected in Six Fairfield Home Fires

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A serial arsonist might be behind six fires at five Fairfield homes over the past three days. The string of blazes in the Stratfield and Tunxis Hill areas of town, including three in a two-hour period early Thursday, were the work of the same suspect, police and fire officials believe.

“The manner and the timeframe, especially the ones [Thursday morning], lead us all to believe that these are intentionally lit fires,” said Police Chief Gary MacNamara.

The first fire occurred at 50 Chatham Road at 4:20 a.m. Monday. In that case, firefighters responded to a vacant house, up for sale, that was fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters left the scene more than an hour after the fire was completely extinguished.

The second incident occurred at a shed behind a home at 325 Stratfield Road late Monday. The fire did not spread to the main home, but that property was also vacant and for sale. Less than 30 minutes later, at 11:45 p.m. Monday, 50 Chatham Road caught fire again.

Because this fire occurred in a separate portion of the house from Monday morning’s blaze, Fire Chief Richard Felner says he believes it was deliberately set a second time. The two houses sit about 1.4 miles apart, so Felner also thinks the Stratfield fire might have been a distraction.

Thursday morning’s incidents all occurred between 2 and 4 a.m., within about four miles. The first report came from 1300 N. Benson Road at about 2:19 a.m. While firefighters were dealing with that incident, reports came from neighbors about a second blaze at 321 Woodridge Ave. at about 3 a.m. The third call came in at 3:40 a.m. at 53 Cornell Road. Fairfield firefighters called in support from Trumbull, Bridgeport and Norwalk to deal with all three incidents as quickly as possible.

In all cases, the affected homes were vacant and up for sale, so no residents were inside. But two Fairfield firefighters were injured while battling Thursday’s blazes. Firefighter Andy Darrow suffered minor injuries while fighting the Woodridge Avenue incident. Firefighter John Catandella is receiving treatment at Bridgeport Hospital for second-degree burns he received while attempting to enter the Cornell Road house to look for victims.

The Fairfield Police Department Detective Bureau is working with Fire Marshal Bill Kessler and the state fire marshal’s office to find the culprit who set the fires. MacNamara asked residents, especially those who live near vacant homes, to look out for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.

“Until we have a handle on this, and have the individual or individuals responsible for this in jail where they belong, we want you to be vigilant and help us out by calling us into your neighborhood if you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary,” MacNamara said.

If you have any information that might help the investigation, you can call the Detective Bureau at (203) 259-4840. You can also submit anonymous tips via text by sending a message to CRIMES (274637) with the code “FPD.”

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