Arson investigation underway after 5 fires intentionally set overnight in Taunton

TAUNTON, MASS. (WHDH) - An arson investigation is underway after a string of fires were intentionally set overnight in a neighborhood near the Taunton Police Department, officials said.

Crews responding to the area of Allens Avenue, Spring Street, Leonard Court, and Weir Street were forced to extinguish five separate fires, according to the Taunton Fire Department.

A truck was found burning at the Silver City Gas station on Weir Street around 11:30 p.m. Witnesses say they spotted a man using an aerosol can to spark the blaze.

“The seats inside that truck are burned, all of them,” Silver City Gas owner Charlie Boulos told 7NEWS. “It’s not going to be fixed. It has to go to the junkyard.”

About 30 minutes later, firefighters discovered flames in the basement of Art’s International Bakery. Four people who live above the bakery were able to evacuate safely.

While firefighters worked to knock down the bakery fire, Taunton Deputy Fire Chief Scott Dexter says the porch of a nearby home was set ablaze, in addition to a couch and mattress that went up in flames in a neighboring yard.

Another fire around 1:30 a.m. charred an abandoned home in the area of Spring Street and Leonard Court. Video from the scene showed raging flames illuminating the night sky.

Dexter says his department is baffled by the suspicious activity.

“In my 34 years on the job, I’ve never come close to this,” he said. “We obviously had five, but you’re wondering where the sixth, seventh, and eighth is.”

A Massachusetts State Police K9 unit was called to the neighborhood to assist with an investigation, according to department spokesman David Procopio.

A suspicious person who was found lurking outside of the Taunton Fire Department while crews battled the blazes was questioned by police and released.

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with tips is asked to contact Taunton police at 508-824-7522 or the arson hotline at 1-800-682-9229.

The state fire marshal’s office is assisting with an investigation.

No injuries were reported.

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