ATF investigating Lawrence arsons

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A rash of arsons in south central Lawrence has local police officers and detectives calling for assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Lawrence Fire Chief Mark Bradford said his department has responded to 14 different arsons in just over one month.

"There is obviously a person or persons out there that are starting fires," Bradford said. "In the 11 years I've been here, I've never seen this many."

Bradford wouldn't give specifics on how the fires are being started but said they are all occurring in common areas with the apartment buildings. None of the fires have caused any injuries or major structural damage, according to Bradford.

"Even a small fire, if it's not witnessed, can get large and out of control," he said. "These are all combustible buildings. In other words they are not made out of concrete material. They're older in age, so they do not have any type of sprinkler systems."

Jennifer Baber and her three-year-old son live in one of the buildings that has been hit. She said she's worried when the next fire will be lit.

"They scare me," Baber said. "I don't want anything to happen to my son, myself or my home."

The ATF is offering additional man power and resources to aid the investigation. They are also offering a $2,500 reward to anyone who has information that leads to an arrest. Tipsters are asked to call the Lawrence Tips Hotline at 785-843-TIPS.

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