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police & fire

Poughkeepsie Fire Chief 'Very Concerned' About Four Suspicious Blazes

Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Mark Johnson said he is concerned about recent fires set intentionally on High Street.
Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Mark Johnson said he is concerned about recent fires set intentionally on High Street. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Four suspicious fires on High Street since late September in Poughkeepsie has Fire Chief Mark Johnson concerned with the safety of other homes and residents in the area.

"I'm very concerned," Johnson said. "The buildings are very close together in that area and fire could spread easily."

In addition, he said the fires are taking place in early evening and late at night in abandoned or vacant homes or garages, a dangerous times for fires with people either asleep or just coming home from work.

Johnson believes the fires are the work of the same person or group of people.

"Of course, we can't say that for sure at this point, but whenever you have a group of fires in the same area it's most likely the same person," Johnson added.

The latest fire took place in a vacant home at 36 High St. Tuesday at 9 p.m. The other fires include:

  • A vacant building was set on fire at 22 High St., at 7 p.m. on Sept. 23.
  • Several garages were set on fire again at 22 High St., at midnight on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
  • Another set of garages were set on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 20 High St., around 11:50 p.m.

Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison is also encouraging residents to be on the lookout for anyone, or anything unusual.

"We have been lucky so far," he said. "But's it's very important for residents to be aware of what's going on around them and to call 911 or the police department if they see something out of the ordinary."

Rolison added that many times residents feel they "don't want to bother" the police. In this case, he said, resident's shouldn't hestitate to call.

The mayor also praised the fire department and how they have been able to aggressively fight the fires and keep them from spreading.

"That area has a lot of older homes that are like tinder boxes, he said. "I'm grateful no one has been injured and the fire department has been on scene quickly."

The department is working with the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department to catch the person responsible, he added.

"Whenever we have a fire that is out of the ordinary or suspicious we work jointly with the police department," he said.

He is encouraging the public to help catch the person or people responsible by keeping their eyes open and contacting the Poughkeepsie Police Department Tip Line at 845-451-7577 if they see anything or have information.

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