Medford Fire says two fires on Bear Creek Greenway are no accident

, Posted: Mon, August 18 2014 at 3:50 PM, Updated: Mon, August 18 2014 at 4:41 PM

Medford, Ore. -- The investigation continues today after two fires are reported within minutes of each other along the Bear Creek Greenway.  

Flames torch two sections of the Bear Creek Greenway Sunday evening. One fire started behind the Rogue Valley Mall and the other near the Medford Railroad Park. Medford Fire says these blazes are no accident. 

From scorched earth to burned blackberry brambles, little is left where the blazes went up, "We didn't know anything until we smelled them up the road," says biker Tony Ronyak.

Even though the flames are out, the fires are not going unnoticed by passing bicyclists. Naturally muggy summer conditions, mixed with the musky scent of fire makes it pretty fragrant between the trees. "I wish I had a mask so I didn't have to smell the smoke," says Ronyak's son, Eli.  

Much more serious than the smell, perhaps the potential danger these fire posed to homeless who camp along the pathway, "It is scary, because what happens if we're sleeping?" says Carrie Anne Zech. She says they feel targeted, "someone is doing this on purpose... I think they are trying to get rid of the homeless people." 

Investigators say both fires are suspicious. They started very close to each other. The distance from the fire behind the railroad park  to the fire behind the mall is about 1,300 feet, roughly half a mile. 

So is Medford facing another arsonist? 

"Both of those areas would have easy escape routes if someone wanted to light something on fire," says Medford Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg. 

He says they believe the fires were set intentionally. By who remains a mystery. They're not yet using the word 'arson' 

"People don't have anything to do obviously," says Ronyak. 
"If it had gone on the other side, we would have been annihilated, " says Zech. 

Passerby's voicing concerns as another two fires are lit in Medford, and once more they remain unsolved.

Medford Fire says the combined size of both fires was about a half acre. They say it could easily have grown larger than that, given all the dry brush along the Greenway.

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