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Arsons possibly connected, fire officials report

Nov. 20, 1997

By Cindy Szelag

Staff Writer for The Baylor Lariat

Five cases of arson in the Baylor area in the past month-and-a-half have Waco Fire Department officials wondering if they are all connected.

There have been three instances of arson of a vehicle in this time period. On Oct. 3, a vehicle was set on fire at 1710 S. Fifth St. On Oct. 16, another vehicle at 1727 S. Fourth St. was burned. The third was on Nov. 5, at 1710 S. Fifth St.

All three of the vehicle fires involved Baylor students, said Lt. Jerry Hawk of the Waco Fire Department.

In addition, there have been two fires on Baylor campus that are believed to be arson. On Oct. 31, a fire caused minor damage in Old Main, and on Tuesday the 24-hour prayer wall was significantly damaged by flames.

Fire department officials are not yet sure if the fires are related, although there is a possibility.

'I don't know if they're related or not, other than that they're in the same area,' Hawk said.

'You would tend to lean toward that, because in a month-and-a-half we had five arsons in the same area.'

Hawk said every year, there are approximately 300 structure fires and about the same number of car fires in Waco. About one-third of the structure fires and one-half of the vehicle fires are arson.

There are many common reasons that arsonists set fires, Hawk said. They include arson for profit, spite, revenge, to cover a crime, terrorism, juvenile vandalism and pyromania.

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