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5 Suspicious Fires Spark Concern

Police investigating whether recent blazes on Collier Drive are related to March car fires

Five fires on Collier Drive -- three in March and two last week -- have sparked a police investigation — and concerns that the street is being targeted by an arsonist.

It's too early to say if that's that case, Detective Lt. John Janowski said.

"We are looking into whether or not the fires are related," Janowski said this week.

The  — reported early Friday morning — have not even been officially classified arson yet. 

A wood shed behind one house was found burning about 5:15 a.m. The blaze destroyed the shed and several nearby trees and damaged a fence, causing about $4,000 in damage.

Firefighters also discovered a fire less than 100 feet away in paper recycling bin at . That blaze caused about $2,000 worth of damage.

In March, on Collier Drive.

One resident who sent an anonymous email to Strongsville Patch this week said neighbors are concerned about the fires and believe "an arsonist is loose in Strongsville."

The resident said the recycling bin at Muraski was also set on fire in June.

But Fire Chief Jeff Branic cautioned about jumping to conclusions. 

"Any time you have a series of fires in a geographic area, you're going to want to connect the dots," Branic said. "But we have to proceed methodically."

He said firefighters are still trying to nail down the exact cause of the two fires Friday.

"There is some suspicion," he said. "But because there's an on-going investigation, we can't share the information we have."

Not the Only Suspicious Blaze

Firefighters are also still looking into the cause of July 27.

Branic said that fire is "suspicious" in nature, but the cause has still not been determined. The state fire marshal is helping with that investigation. 

Janowski indicated police are not linking that blaze to the Collier Drive incidents.

"There is currently no evidence to indicate the Priem Road fire is related," he said.

Branic said the police and fire departments "are working as hard as we can to get to the bottom of this."

Anyone with information, or who saw anything suspicious Friday morning, is asked to call Strongsville police at 440-238-7333.

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