KC police think three suspicious fires are linked

Kansas City police say they believe three fires that erupted in vacant buildings Friday morning, all within a few blocks of each other near Swope Park, are related.

The first two fires have been ruled arson, police said, but investigators couldn’t make a ruling on the third blaze because the building was too dangerous for investigators to enter.

No one was injured in the series of fires, which started about 6:50 a.m.

The first fire involved a house in the 3800 block of East 56th Street. Arriving firefighters reported smoke and fire coming from the second story.

“The two-story vacant structure was heavily involved on the second floor,” said Battalion Chief Joe Vitale, a spokesman for the fire department.

Shortly thereafter, a fire was reported nearby in a single-story vacant house in the 5600 block of Swope Parkway.

The third fire was reported about 7:20 a.m. at a single-story commercial structure near East 58th Terrace and College Avenue. The building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. The roof had collapsed, but police said it was possible it had already fallen before the fire started.

Afraid the building might collapse, firefighters took a defensive mode and fought the fire from outside.

Police said they had no information that would connect those fires to two blazes reported at the former Horace Mann School near East 39th Street and Bruce R. Watkins Drive.

In connection to one of the early fires, police said a witness saw a suspicious-looking man wearing a black hoodie and a black Carhartt coat.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call 816-474-TIPS.

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