DANVILLE — Danville arson investigators today are looking into two suspicious fires that broke out within about 45 minutes of each other at vacant houses early this morning.
Firefighters first were called to a fire at 1001 E. Main Street at 3:53 a.m., which was called in by a passerby. When they arrived, the entire first floor of the two-story brick structure was engulfed in flames, according to Danville fire Capt. Todd Spicer.
Firefighters were battling that blaze when they got a call for another fire at 13 Corrine St, which was called in by a neighbor. When crews arrived there, heavy fire was showing from the two-story wood-frame structure, Spicer said.
Both homes were unoccupied, and the utilities had been shut off.
"Both are suspicious fires and are being investigated by our joint arson investigation team," Danville Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said, adding there were no injuries at either fire. "It's still early, so I can't tell you that these two fires are connected in any way other than by their suspicious nature and by their time period."
Firefighters brought the fire on East Main Street under control around 8 a.m., Spicer said. Additional units were called in to help fight that blaze.
"It's a loss," he said, estimating damage at about $45,000.
At the Corrine Street fire, crews had to bring in an end loader and bulldoze part of the structure to get to the fire, Spicer said. He said that fire finally was extinguished at around 10 a.m.
Additional staffing also was called in for that incident.
He estimated the damage to that structure at $35,000 to $40,000.
Officials said the two fires as well as other incidents that morning stretched staffing. Firefighters also were called to a rollover accident on Interstate 74 and to a natural gas call on the west side of town.
"It's very odd that we would have two fire incidents" at the same time, Thomason said. "However, we used our mutual aid system to cover the city. They were on standby with crews and equipment, but it wasn't needed."