A fire that broke out Friday morning in Somerville has been classified as an arson, the fourth such fire set in the city this summer, according to Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
The four confirmed arsons date to June 27, and five other suspicious fires remain under investigation. Four more have been ruled accidental.
Friday’s blaze at 10 Laurel Terrace was reported at 6:40 a.m, officials said. The homeowner saw smoke coming into her kitchen from the porch, and she put out most of the fire herself. Firefighters finished extinguishing it by 6:45 a.m., said Lieutenant Derek Nolan of the Somerville Fire Department.
A reward offered by the City of Somerville for any information regarding the ongoing case has been raised from $10,000 to as much as $20,000.
The reward could rise to $25,000 because the Arson Watch Reward Program is offering up to an additional $5,000.
“This has been a relentless investigation,” said Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello. “We’ve devoted every resource possible including support that comes from our state and federal departments. No expense will be missing as far as what is required to bring the people responsible to justice in this investigation.”
Pasquarello added that in some cases, entry was gained through unlocked doors. Other arsons or suspicious fires were started on the exteriors of the homes.
Federal and state agencies, as well as local public safety departments in the City of Somerville, according to State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan, are working 24 hours a day on the investigation.
“Arson is not a victimless crime and it robs people of their sense of safety and security in their own neighborhood,” Coan said. “Our focus collectively as the fire investigative team is on solving these fires.”
Somerville officials are urging residents to remain vigilant and report any information that could assist the investigation.
Terri Ogan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org