Bend police hunt for possible arsonist in early-morning fires

Loud boom, glow awakened Riverside Blvd. residents

Cars set on fire early Wednesday

BEND, Ore. - It was a loud boom and a glow early Wednesday morning that woke some people in one northwest Bend neighborhood, giving them good reason to call police.

One man along Northwest Riverside Boulevard said it was so loud, he thought it was a hit-and -run.

A woman said she didn't hear it, but saw all the emergency vehicle lights shortly after 3 a.m. along Northwest Riverside Boulevard.

"I woke up to flashing lights, and was thinking there was a short in the house, or the lights were going crazy, and so it just kept me up for about two hours with the lights going on and off," she said later Wednesday.

Police and fire crews arrived to find two cars, a garbage can and a tree on fire. Bend firefighters was able to put it out and no homes were damaged.

This is an ongoing investigation, and at this point, not much information is available publicly. But I spoke with police spokesman Lt. Clint Burleigh to find out if the community should be worried about more arson.

"I don't have any information to suggest this is going to continue to happen, but with that being said, I don't have any information that it won't," Burleigh said.  

"If it is an arsonist, and it wasn't targeted, it just happened to be someone who uses arson as a way of expressing themselves, then yeah, it could happen again," he said. "That's why it's important to keep an eye on our neighborhoods and keep our community safe."

Nearby residents and people walking by said it's surprising when something like this happens.

Carl Hays lives in The Villa Apartments, near where one car burned.

"As the city grows, things are bound to happen," he said. "It's weird -- it's always weird when it happens right outside your window." 

But Burleigh said this isn't the new normal.

"Luckily, we're in a community that this doesn't happen every day," he said. "So let's see what we can do about finding the cause of this and finding if there was someone responsible for this."

Police asked any witnesses or people with information about suspicious circumstances in the area to contact them at 541-693-6911. You can also use the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS. You can remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

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