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Authorities seek arsonist targeting Northwood

Fri., July 23, 2010, midnight

Two arsons and an attempted arson in the Northwood neighborhood over the past several days have firefighters and law enforcement on edge.

Patrols are being increased in the neighborhood, and residents of the area in northeast Spokane County are being asked to keep a watchful eye for fires or suspicious persons.

In the first incident on Saturday or Sunday, the arsonist dumped gasoline in beauty bark next to a home and ignited it.

The fire burned out and did not spread to the fire-proof siding, said Deputy Chief Doug Bleeker of Fire District 9.

On Sunday, another gasoline-fueled fire was reported at 1:45 a.m. and spread to vinyl siding and into the wall of a home through a dryer vent, officials said. The fire was extinguished with no injuries.

On Tuesday, a woman got up before dawn to care for her baby and apparently scared off an arsonist, who had dumped about a quart of gasoline on the back deck of her home near a sliding door.

“Neighbors need to have their eyes peeled,” Bleeker said. “Prevention is going to save people’s homes.”

Residents are asked to call the fire district at (509) 466-4602 with any information or 911 if it is an emergency.

“We really want to get this stopped,” he said.

Bleeker said the fires are unlikely related to two wildfires last week in the wooded areas west of Northwood on the north side of the Spokane River.

Also, Spokane Valley firefighters have responded to two arsons on the east side of Fruithill Road recently. Those apparently were started with paper and quickly put out, fire officials said.

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