NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – After a string of suspicious fires in Northampton, a reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that could prevent another one.
Northampton Police announced the bike path near 37 Hatfield street was the latest target in a series of suspicious fires on and around the city’s bike paths.
Police posted on Facebook this week that people using the path just before 7 a.m. on July 5, saw a fire in the section near Hatfield street. They called police and were able to put the fire out themselves.
“It is tragic because a lot of people use the bike trails for various reasons,” said Katie Turner of Northampton.
The latest is the fifth suspicious fire in the area in just over a month.
Fires have occurred on the path under the Jackson Street Bridge, on the path near 265 Prospect Street, and twice at the Valley Bikeshare docking station at State and Stoddard streets. Both times bikes were seriously damaged, and you can still see what appears to be patches of melted tire on the ground. On one occasion, a nearby tree had also caught fire.
Northampton dealt with an arsonist a decade ago, whose fires left two people dead. One woman who lives near the bike path said these suspicious fires remind her of that fearful time.
“I think it kind of scares us right now, because honestly, don’t think it’s very good for safety,” said Turner.
But, other residents said it’s too soon to worry.
“To put those two together, I think that’s a little early,” said Tim Lovett, also of Northampton. “Premature I want to say.”
Newly posted along the bike path are signs offering a reward of up to $5,000 from the arson watch reward program for information on the fires.
“It’s definitely a good step,” Lovett went on to say. “It makes people aware of the situation, and it puts people on the lookout.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Northampton Police Detective Bureau.