URBANA — Urbana police are looking for the person or persons responsible for three fires purposely set at an Urbana apartment complex this year.
None of the fires in a stairwell of building 500 at 908 N. Broadway Ave., U, has resulted in serious damage, according to police and firefighters, but the potential for harm is great.
Division Chief Brian Nightlinger said firefighters were called to the latest fire at 8:50 p.m. Monday.
"We've had a series of small fires in one of the buildings. It's been a recurring problem. Somebody decides to keep starting fires in a stairwell. It's a nuisance but a concern to us that somebody could really get hurt," he said.
Nightlinger said Monday night's fire had been put out by a resident with a fire extinguisher by the time firefighters arrived.
Police Lt. Bryant Seraphin said the fires have been set in an inside stairwell on the east end of the building leading from the ground-floor entrance to the second level.
"It's even the same spot, seven or eight steps up," Seraphin said of all three fires.
Seraphin said about half of the approximately 24 units in the building are vacant and police and firefighters have talked to residents in an attempt to find out who could be responsible.
The damage has been confined to the carpet on the steps and a bit of smoke on the nearby wall, Seraphin said.
"Nonetheless, if a practical joke gets out of hand, we could have a serious issue," Seraphin said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Urbana police at 217-384-2320 or Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477.