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Suspicious Fires Hit At Least 8 Locations In New Jersey

LINDEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Firefighters in Linden were scrambling all over town Thursday night to put out several suspicious fires.

The series of suspicious fires had investigators, canines, even neighbors sniffing for clues Friday. Everyone was wondering how eight fires could have started within three hours of one another.

Great job last night by the Linden Fire Department and all those who responded to these suspicious fires. Firefighters...

Posted by Linden Police Department on Friday, July 26, 2019

"I think someone started it on purpose," said Melissa Cardozo.

"It just doesn't make sense. We haven't had a day like this ever since I've been here," said Fred Voss.

The first of the fires started at 10 p.m. Thursday when a doctor's office went up in flames on Wood Avenue. Half an hour later, an empty home undergoing renovation on Seymour Avenue also started burning.

Cindy Sadowski captured the mayhem on her cell phone.

"The fire was really, really bad. Like, I actually seen an orange light from the window. And saw the fire was, like, in our back yard," Sadowski said.

The calls didn't end there. A dumpster fire started near Joseph E. Soehl Middle School. Then came four garbage or brush fires. Investigators say all the cases are suspicious.

"All these fires happened within a few block radius of each other and all within a very short period of time. So obviously as you begin to investigate, you have to consider that as one big event," said Linden Fire Chief Joseph Dooley.

Firefighters told CBS2's Christina Fan it's miraculous no one was hurt, considering one home was fully engulfed by the time they got to it. The flames were so hot it melted the siding off the homes behind it, and also caused major smoke damage to the house next door.

"It did a lot of damage, the heat," said neighbor Gayle Voss.

"Nobody's going to feel safe knowing that someone is going to light up their house on fire," said Cardozo.

Investigators are not ruling any of the cases arson just yet, but say police will be on heightened alert, looking for suspicious activity.

"Beware, we will do everything humanly possible to catch you, and if we catch you, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Linden Mayor Derek Armstead.

A fire in Roselle at around the same time is also under investigation. Authorities want to find out if it's connected to the Linden incidents.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call (908) 474-8537.




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