SSP police, fire departments ask public to help nab arsonist

$2,500 reward offered

The South Metro Fire Department and the South St. Paul Police Department request the public’s help to end to the series of arson fires that have plagued the city for the past two years.

The most recent rash of fires, set July 16 between 1 and 3:30 a.m., did significant property damage.

Firefighters initially responded to the 300 block of S Eight Ave., where they found two detached garages in flames. While at the scene, a bystander reported seeing a car on fire a few blocks away.

As firefighters responded to the car fire, emergency crews located several more fires set in garbage cans around the area and one which had been started in a boat.

In total, firefighters estimate 11 fires were set in a five-block radius.The Inver Grove Heights Fire Department was also called in for assistance.

Given the fact that the arson fires tend to destroy any evidence that may be left at the scene, investigators rely on eyewitness accounts, surveillance videos and tips to identify suspects. The South Metro Fire Department and the South St. Paul police are asking that anyone with information on these fires contact the police department at 651-554-3300.

The departments have also announced a partnership with the Minnesota Arson Reward Project to offer rewards up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification of the person or people responsible for the fires. Contact the Arson Hot Line at 1-800-723-2020 with information.

— Luke Reiter

 

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