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Serial arsonist suspected in string of Lawrence fires

Lawrence Nov 17 arson.png
Posted at 1:48 PM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 15:57:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lawrence police are investigating a string of intentionally-set fires overnight that caused at least $1.5 million in damage at one location.

Police say they are investigating four fires late Wednesday night and early Thursday they believe were set by a woman that was reportedly turned away from a homeless camp that was allegedly full.

The first response came around 9 p.m. in the area of 725 N. 2nd Street at a printing business. The locations of the other fires included 1010 N. 3rd St., 725 N. 2nd S., and 401 N. 2nd St.,

A police spokesperson said three of the fires were to dumpsters, but the fire at the printing business caused $1.5 million in damage.

No injuries were reported from any of the fires.

A 19-year-old woman was taken into custody around 11 p.m. Wednesday night and booked into the Douglas County Jail.

Despite the damage at the business, fire officials say the damage could have been worse.

"Sprinkler systems continually prove their value through incidents like this one and we believe the system significantly reduced potential damage to nearby businesses last night," Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief Kevin Jones said Thursday in a release.

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