Three Fires In Montara, Two Fires Due To Arson

(WIBW/Ariana Cohen)
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The Montara neighborhood in South Topeka has seen three fires in the past two days and fire officials say two of them were arson.

Flames shot through the roof at an empty duplex in Montara around 2 a.m. Monday.

"We had flames coming through the roof, probably 10-15 feet at the time, heavy smoke damage, apart of the structure had collapsed at that time," says Fire Batallion Chief Darin Daniels.

2 people lived in the connecting portion to the duplex and got out safely. Fire trucks have been a familiar scene in this neighborhood lately.

"Within 24 hours the Shawnee Heights Fire Department have responded to 3 alarms in the Montara district. It's been a strange series of occurrences," says Daniels.

Fire investigators say the fire that started here at Southwest 69th Terrace was due to arson, which is a felony crime.

The Shawnee County Sheriff's Office says a fire early Sunday at a vacant shed at 7207 Woodcraft Way also was intentionally set. A neighbor put out the flames with a garden hose before fire crews arrived.

Then, at 2 p.m. Sunday, crews responded to another vacant shed on fire at 7203 Montara Parkway, investigators are still trying to determine if it was arson as well.

No one was injured in any of the 3 incidents, but fire officials say it's important to prevent it from happening again.

"This is a very deadly situation. Be vigilant and know what is going on in your neighborhood," says Daniels.

"This is not just playing around, this is serious, especially when you are talking about people's lives," said Rose Rozmiarek, Chief of Investigation.

Fire officials say the fire at Southwest 69th terrace caused $100,000 damage.

If you have any information at all on who started the fires, you can call the state fire marshal at 296-3401 or the KBI tip line, at 1-800-KS-CRIME.

A vacant portion of a Topeka duplex burned to the ground early Monday morning.

Shawnee County dispatch told 13 news that the fire was called in around 2 a.m. at 1304 SW 69th Terrace in Montara neighborhood.

Fire crews said that one half of the duplex was fully involved in fire when they arrived.

The family living on the other side of the duplex made it out safely before firefighters arrived.

A member of the sheriff's department told us that the the portion of the duplex that burned down had been empty for two years.

This is the second fire in as many days in the Montara neighborhood.

A fire was reported Sunday around 3:40 a.m. at 7201 Woodcroft Way where a shed caught fire next to a vacant home.

That fire has been called an arson by the Shawnee County Sheriff's Department.

There is no word yet on the cause of the Monday morning fire.