NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Police are investigating after a series of suspicious fires in the area of the Northampton Bikeway throughout June.
According to Northampton Police Chief, Jody Kasper, a total of four fires have taken place in the area of the bikeway between Jackson and Stoddard Streets.
Kasper said the first fire took place shortly after midnight on June 3. Officers were called to the bike path under the Jackson Street Bridge for a small, smoldering fire. Police were called to another small brush fire later that morning, according to Kasper, at 7:43 a.m. That fire was on the bike path behind 265 Prospect Street.
The third fire took place on June 19 at 12:55 p.m. Officers were called to the docking station at State and Stoddard Streets where Kasper said they found a bike that had been set on fire and severely damaged.
Northampton resident Will O’Connor told 22News, “”It seems like it was kind of tough to light these on fire too, definitely took some effort on their part. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on these at night, but they are pitch dark. So it’s definitely raising the concern.”
The latest fire took place Thursday morning at 3:42 a.m. Kasper said officers were called to the same docking station at State and Stoddard Streets for another bike on fire. Kasper said the bike was heavily damaged and a nearby tree also caught fire.
Karen Moynihan of Northampton told 22News that the news of the fires is a chilling reminder of fires from a decade ago. She said, “In the past we had an arsonist in town, who is now in prison. So I’m not surprised to hear things like that are happening.”
That arsonist was caught after setting more than a dozen fires in 2009, including one that left two people dead. Moynihan noted she doesn’t want to return to the unrest that caused, saying, “I’m afraid to go to sleep, and just try to keep an eye out. Hopefully they figure out what’s going on and soon.”
Police are asking anyone who frequents to the area to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Anyone with information on the fires is asked to call Northampton police at 413-587-1100.