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Officials deem 3 Somerville fires as arson

$15,000 in rewards offered

‘We are not taking this lightly,’ Somerville mayor Joseph Curtatone said.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

‘We are not taking this lightly,’ Somerville mayor Joseph Curtatone said.

Three house fires in Somerville in recent months have been deemed arson, and three others are suspicious and remain under investigations, officials said Monday.

Rewards of up to $15,000 are being offered for information that leads to an arrest or arrests in connection to the fires. The state is offering $5,000 and the city is offering $10,000, Mayor Joseph Curtatone said in a press conference at the Somerville Police Headquarters Monday afternoon.

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“We will spare no resource or expense to apprehend any perpetrators of these events,” Curtatone said. “We are not taking this lightly.”

There have been nine house fires in Somerville since June 27. Three of them have been determined to be accidental. Officials would not say which of the other six had been determined to be arson or describe what led to that conclusion.

Fires at 106 Walnut St. on June 27; 27 Lake St. and 46 Belmont St. on July 19; and 25 Lewis St. and 68 Dane St. on July 12 are among the six either under investigation or deemed arson, as well as a July 25 fire on Calvin Street and Beacon Place that displaced about 45 people.

The fires have caused millions of dollars in damages; no one suffered severe injuries.

“We’ve really dodged a bullet here,” Curatone said. “There’s clearly been structural and monetary damage, but you can replace that.”

‘We are not taking this lightly.’

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State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said each of the fires was being investigated individually, but would not rule out a connection between them.

Somerville Deputy Police Chief Paul Upton said the fires were being investigated by a team that includes local police, the state fire marshal’s office, Cambridge police, the FBI, and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Investigators are asking that anyone with information about the fires call the state’s arson hotline at 800-682-9229.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.
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