Double arson on Winthrop Drive

Police are investigating a double arson that took place Aug. 22 and 23 at an unoccupied home on Winthrop Drive. No injuries were suffered during the fires.

The first blaze was discovered by a neighbor, who was eventually able to put out the flames himself, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Aug. 22, Fire Marshal Jim McDonald told the Post.

According to Fire Marshal McDonald, it was immediately evident that the fire was set intentionally after firefighters found both a lighter and lighter fluid inside the room in which the blaze started. Since the targeted house is under construction, there is no source of electricity or emissions, making it virtually impossible for the fire to have started as a result of the home’s mechanical conditions, he explained.

The following night, Aug. 23, at approximately the same time the first blaze was set, a second fire was observed at the front door of the same house by a town police officer who was patrolling the area as a result of the incident the previous night. In this second fire, no accelerant or material evidence of arson was found by firefighters.

The fire department’s role in the investigation of the two incidents went quickly based on the evidence, Fire Marshal McDonald said. And although he has seen cases of arson at houses under construction in the past, Fire Marshal McDonald said he’d never seen the same home set on fire twice, making it all the more evident that the blazes were incendiary.

While police continue the criminal investigation of the incidents, Fire Marshal McDonald said there can be no speculation as to who committed the crimes until police begin to rule things out. There are many motives for starting fires, he said. Nevertheless, he said his “gut feeling” tells him the blazes were not a mere case of “trouble-making,” but that it was impossible to verify that assumption at this early stage of the investigation.

Fire Marshal McDonald also noted that the second fire was set in between the patrolling officer’s various stops in the area, indicating that the arsonist may have been watching the policeman and waiting for the opportune time to set the blaze, though that is also something that cannot be said with any certainty at this time.

According to police, no one was injured in either incident and the house did not suffer any significant damage.

Police will continue their investigation with the help of the town’s fire/police task force. On Tuesday, Greenwich Police Lt. Kraig Gray told the Post that there was no update yet in the investigation.

 

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