Manhattan Fire Dept. Investigates Series Of Arson Fires

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Manhattan Fire Department is investigating four arson fires that caused more than more than $22,000 worth of damage to several cars and property. Officials say the blazes were intentionally set in the same area and they believe the same suspect or suspects were responsible for the string of fires.

The first fire was reported at the Wildcat Inn Apartments at 2:50 AM Monday, June 4, 2012. The complex is located at the intersection of Denison Avenue and College Heights Road, just steps away from Kansas State University’s campus.

Crews responded to an empty apartment where someone had turned the stove on and set something on the range unit where it caught on fire. The occupant of a nearby apartment used an extinguisher to put the fire out. It caused an estimated $300 in damage.

Minutes later, fire crews and police were called to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity house across the street from the Wildcat Inn Apartments for a report of a vehicle fire. Police say some material in the back of a 2001 Ford Ranger pick-up truck had been set on fire. The truck was parked in the fraternity’s parking lot and the fire in the bed of the truck had been extinguished before firefighters arrived. It caused minor damage.

Around the same time, firefighters were also called to 1021 Denison Avenue which is the property next door to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity for another report of a vehicle fire. They extinguished a fire that caused $4,000 worth of damage to a 2000 Chevy Cavalier that was parked on the property. The address is the location for ECM, a student group at Kansas State University that encourages students to explore their spiritual beliefs.

At 3:02 AM, crews were then called to a house at 1020 Quivera Circle, the property backs up to the SAE house and ECM location. There, they found a 2010 Nissan Frontier pick-up truck that was parked next to a house engulfed in flames. Firefighters put the fire out. It caused an estimated $18,000 worth of damage.

“A little before 3 o’clock this morning, our crews responded to the first of four of what appears to be incendiary incidents along College Heights Road and Denison Avenue. One was a fire on a stove at an unoccupied apartment and we had three vehicle fires. The damage is estimated at a little over $22,000. One of the vehicles was a total loss. We don’t know who was involved at this time but it is under investigation with our fire investigators, Deputy Chief Ryan Almes and the Riley County Police Department,” Manhattan Fire Chief Jerry Snyder told 13 News Monday.

Snyder says authorities have no information on a suspect or suspects or a description of anyone seen in the area. He would not comment on what fire investigators believe was used to set the fires.

No injuries were reported.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email:
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