Two Suspicious Fires Set in Salem Overnight

Salem police and fire officials are currently investigating two suspicious fires that were set in the city overnight.

Local police and fire investigators are looking into two suspicious fires that were allegedly set in Salem Monday night.

Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Giunta said fire investigators haven't announced whether the two incidents are related - but did say both were being considered suspicious.

Canal Street

The first of the two fires was allegedly set by a youth with a moltov cocktail in the parking lot behind Salem's Old Fashioned Candies and Shirts Illustrated.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m., local police and firefighters responded to 93 Canal St. for a report of a small fire in the rear of the building.

When they arrived on scene, firefighters reportedly found a glass bottle with a rag in it burning on the ground.

Police Lt. Mary Butler said the initial call came from a resident in a building across the street, who reported seeing a "youth who had a bottle with a rag in it set the thing on fire."

Rather than put the fire out, Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Giunta said local firefighters opted to let the bottle burn itself out.

"When we got to the scene there wasn't much of a fire left," Giunta said. "It looks like the bottle was dropped, rather than thrown - because it wasn't broken into a lot of little pieces."

Although the incident didn't result in any damage to the nearby buildings, Giunta noted that it could have been much worse.

"If that bottle was broken against a wood building, it could have been substantial," Giunta said.

The glass bottle was reportedly recovered from the scene and taken by investigators as evidence.

Washington Square

At 11:15 p.m., police and fire units were called to the scene of a vehicle fire outside of 47 Washington Square.

Giunta said it appeared that someone set a fire in the backseat of a parked 2003 Lincoln Aviator and smashed a window when they noticed it wasn't catching quickly.

"It didn't get going as well as someone probably had wanted it to and I think the window might have been broken for ventilation," Giunta said.

Firefighters reportedly found the vehicle locked when they arrived, and after smashing a window to gain entry, they extinguished the blaze using water from Engine 1.

Extinguishing the Washington Square fire were Lt. Wayne Silva, firefighter Doug Sanville and firefighter Sean Edge.

Salem Patch will be posting additional information as it becomes available.

Bill December 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM
moltov cocktail! If Salem were a stock, I'd be shorting it
ken December 11, 2012 at 03:27 PM
You are right Patchy, the youth throwing the molotov does make it seem suspicious.
Justin Mattera December 12, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I've lived in Salem for many years now and the violent crimes/fires and invasion of the undesirables is getting out of control. I call the police a few times a week on the panhandlers at the wharf. When had this become ok? These guys return day after day and are getting as comfortable as the criminals are in this city. Foot patrol needs to be reinstated.
windpower December 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Foot patrol with the dogs please


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