Two out of the multiple fires in the Museum District this week have been confirmed as arson. Be on the lookout.
Update #1 — January 21, 2016; 5:58 PM
Update, the Richmond Police are now confirming that two fires were indeed arson, although only one of them is one of the fires we reported below. That means the Hanover Avenue fire has not been called arson by the police and may not be related.
Here’s the full text from the police:
The Richmond Police Department and the Richmond Fire Department are investigating two arsons that occurred yesterday in the Museum District. Residents should secure their properties and report any suspicious activity to police.
Both fires were set in apartment buildings within hours of each other – the first at 4:43 a.m. in the 3500 block of Park Avenue and the second at 7 a.m. in the 3400 block of Kensington Avenue. They were similar in nature with multiple points of origin in unsecured areas. The buildings sustained moderate damage and displaced several residents.
Residents are encouraged to secure common areas, such as laundry and storage rooms, and lock all accessory doors. Please ensure that all exterior lights are working and kept lit starting at dusk.
RPD officers have increased patrols in the area. Residents are asked to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or persons, male or female, who have been frequenting the area – perhaps seeking shelter.
Additional arson prevention tips have been provided by the Richmond Fire Department (see attached)(PDF).
Anyone with information about these arsons is asked to call Major Crimes Sergeant William Booth at (804) 646-4315 or contact Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. Citizens can also text Crime Stoppers at 274637, using the key word “ITip” followed by your tip. All the Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
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Original — January 21, 2016
The Richmond Fire Department is currently investigating two residential fires that occurred relatively close to one another on Wednesday, January 20th. The first occurred in the early morning hours at 3521 Park Avenue. The second took place last night at 4304 Hanover Avenue. No injuries were reported in either incident.
As the department is still investigating, it is important to note that no official cause has been released on either fire, nor whether they may be connected. However, the Museum District Association alerted residents to the fires via email this morning, reminding homeowners and renters alike to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
The email reads in full:
As many of you may have heard, there have been several fires in the neighborhood over the past 48 hours. The fires have started in basements and appear to be intentionally set. The Fire Department is actively investigating these occurrences.
As a reminder from the Fire Department, please take precautions to protect your selves and your homes. Please be sure that your fence gates are locked, windows are latched and doors are secured. It is imperative that you have working smoke detectors in your home. Urge your neighbors to do the same. Senior residents may need help to install fresh batteries in their detectors, please offer them assistance if you can. If you are renting, please be sure that your landlord is complying with regulations and providing smoke detectors for your home.
The Richmond Fire Department provides free smoke detectors, as well as home safety information, to anyone who requests them. They will also check your existing alarms to ensure they are working properly, change the batteries if needed, and determine if the device is due for replacement. Most detectors should be replaced when they are ten years old. All of this is only a phone call away and is free to all Richmond residents. Stop by your neighborhood fire station or contact Richmond Fire Headquarters to schedule a visit. Call 646-2500 or the Metro Richmond Fire Safety Hotline at 800-537-5967
Our local fire station is Fire Station #18 located at 412 N Thompson Street.
Thanks to Statia Gibson for the news tip.
Photo: Museum District Association via Facebook