Two Bethany house fires ruled as arson

Authorities are investigating a string of suspicious fires at a Bethany development.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. — Two suspicious fires that destroyed newly built homes in North Bethany in August were intentionally set, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The cause of a suspicious fire this month in the same neighborhood is still under investigation.

The sheriff's office said they are currently working all leads. There will be a community meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday night to talk about the fires. The meeting will be held at Springville Elementary School at 6655 Northwest Joss Avenue in Portland.

The first two fires, which destroyed nearly completed houses right next to each other, were set in August, just 11 days apart, at the Highlands at North Bethany development, between Northwest Catalpa and 168th in North Bethany.

A third suspicious fire in the same subdivision destroyed a house that was under construction on Nov. 22. The homes in the Highlands are priced between $689,950 and $899,950.

 

When Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crews arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames.

Washington County Sheriff spokesman Jeff Talbot said detectives were called out because of the other two suspicious fires in the area.

It's scary for neighbors who live on the edge of the development.  

"It doesn't make you sleep very good at night when you have houses blocks away burning to the ground,” said nearby resident Diane Rucker. 

The Highlands at North Bethany is a development with 93 new homes. Some homes are already finished but many are still under construction. 

Talbot said the sheriff's office is looking for leads to find out what happened and why. 

"[This has the] potential to be very dangerous and deadly," Talbot said. "You have Northwest Natural gas that’s here on scene that had to check the houses because we have natural gas hook-ups. I mean there is danger to it. Although its fortunate no one has been injured so far.”

© 2017 KGW-TV


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