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St. Augustine Fires Believed To Be Arson


Investigators said three of four early morning fires in St. Augustine’s historic district Monday were intentionally set and they’re leaning toward arson as the cause of the fourth as well.

According to St. Augustine Fire Chief James "J.C." Costeira, the four structures, two on Cordova, one on Saragasso and one on Park Place in the Lincolnville neighborhood, are within blocks of each other in the historic downtown area.

Costeira said firefighters were able to save the structures adjacent to the 100-year old  buildings that burned thanks to a special agreement between the city and county fire departments.

“In our historic plan that we have with St. Johns County, they always send additional units when they come in just because we know how close the houses are together and how quickly it could spread from one to the next to the next, to avoid burning a whole city block down,” he said.

Four state fire marshals as well as three agents with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping with the investigation.

It’s just a matter of finding the common thread that connects the fires, Costeira said.

“There’s a lot of people that were in the areas so now we just have to decipher through there and see if anybody was in both areas, he said. "It’s just putting the pieces together and we’ve got a lot of law enforcement that are taking it very seriously.”

The first fire was reported at 3:25 Mondaymorning at 45 Cordova Street in downtown St. Augustine.

All four structures were empty at the time of the fires.  There were no injuries.  
You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.