Authorities are investigating four separate but possibly related arsons that occurred early Monday morning in relatively close vicinity to each other. Officials estimate the combined loss from the fire damage exceeds $22,000.
The Manhattan Fire Department first responded to an unoccupied apartment at 1803 College Heights Ave. at approximately 2:50 a.m., for reports of a kitchen fire. Crews found that small fire had been started on top of the stove, which had been extinguished by a neighbor. RCPD Capt. Kurt Moldrup said the damage was insignificant with an estimated loss of $300.
Firefighters then responded to reports of a vehicle fire in the parking lot of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 1015 Denison Ave. Moldrup said unknown materials in the bed of a 2001 Ford Ranger had been set on fire, though the truck only suffered $10 in damage.
Firefighters were then called to nearby 1021 Denison Ave., where a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier had been set on fire. Officials said that on arrival, firefighters found there was a fire in the car’s passenger compartment. The damage is estimated to be $4,000.
Officials said that while extinguishing that fire, firefighters observed another vehicle fire at 1020 Quivera Circle, where crews found a 2010 Nissan Frontier fully engulfed in flames. The damage is estimated at $18,000.
Moldrup said that the owners of the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Cavalier have been contacted, but that police are still looking for the owner of the Nissan Frontier.
No arrests have been made in connection with any of the arsons, but all incidents are under investigation.