11 fires set off in Portland, prompting search for serial arsonist

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Portland Fire & Rescue is asking for the public’s help to identify a serial arson suspect believed to have ignited at least 11 fires early Wednesday morning along a trajectory that crosses through most of inner Southeast Portland.

The first suspicious fire began at around 3 a.m. in the Kerns neighborhood near the corner of Northeast 28th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard, according to a news release from the fire department. From there, the arsonist apparently moved in a southwest and then southerly direction, setting off more fires in the Kerns, Buckman, Hosford-Abernethy and Brooklyn neighborhoods, with the final fire occurring just after 7 a.m. in Hosford-Abernethy.

The bureau’s Arson Investigations Unit is investigating with help from the Accelerant Detection Canine Team. Evidence collected at the scenes points to a serial arsonist, according to the news release, and the bureau released two surveillance photos believed to show a potential suspect.

The fire department is also asking the public to study a map of the fire locations and see if anyone has home or business security cameras near any of the locations that may have captured footage of the suspect. The department is also asking for anyone who discovered an additional fire in the same geographic area this morning to let officials know. Anyone with information should contact Lt. Jason Andersen at 503-823-3787.

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