Detectives from the department are actively probing the vehicle fires, which occurred on the mornings of Oct. 27 and Nov. 13, though no new details have become available.
“On Wednesday, someone was pounding on the door telling me that the van was on fire,” the 33-year-old victim of the Nov. 13 fire said. “The van probably would have exploded had [firefighters] not of come because there was enough gas in there to [explode.] ... They had the arson squad come out.”
The Herald typically does not print the names of crime victims.
The nature, rarity and proximity of the crimes indicated a possible connection, Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department, said.
“That’s one of the things the detectives are trying to connect,” Weingartner said of the investigation. “There was an other vehicle fire and because of similarities and that it’s vehicle arson — and we don’t have many of those cases — and that it occurred within a small period of time, they’re looking into trying to link those to see if they can share information with both investigations.”
The most recent fire was reported by a 33-year-old Ottawa woman 5:17 a.m. Nov. 13 in the 1300 block of South Olive Street, Ottawa. The previous fire was reported by a 36-year-old Ottawa woman 3:49 a.m. Oct. 27 in the 1500 block of South Poplar Street.
Anyone with information about the crimes may call the Franklin County Crime Stoppers at (888) 311-TIPS or (888) 311-8477. Callers may remain anonymous.