NPD investigates suspicious fires
Nome police are investigating four suspicious fires that occurred in the same general vicinity in Nome over the course of the past month, with the latest fire consuming a storage shed and leaping to the adjacent residence of Randy Oles on Steadman St. in the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 7.
Oles, a long-time fire fighter with the Nome Volunteer Fire Department himself, was awaken by a man pounding on his back door around 4 a.m. Oles said the man stated that the shed is on fire and that he had tried to put it out. Oles jumped into his boots and as the Nome Volunteer Fire Department arrived, helped put the fire out. As Nome police officers responded and cleared the scene from onlookers, fire fighters arrived. NVFD Chief Jim West Jr. said the department responded with 14 volunteers that also included Nome Volunteer Ambulance Department personnel. The blaze was controlled within an hour and did not leap to the neighboring house.
Standing in front of the burned shed on Tuesday afternoon, Oles said, he didn’t pay attention where the man went who banged on his back door. The task at hand, he said, was to put the fire out and not until later did he wonder why that man was even there.
Nobody was hurt in the fire. Oles’ house sustained smoke damage and some water damage. The flames have melted the northern wall of his home, where his bedroom is, and burned a hole into the soffit. A pile of burned ashes with roofing collapsed on top is the only thing left of the shed. Melted siding warped around the remainder of the house wall.
This was not the only blaze that NVFD had to respond to recently.
Three other fires are considered suspicious and are under investigation by NPD.
Jim West Jr. said one of those fires occurred a few weeks ago on his property, also near Steadman, also around 4 a.m. A parked Ford Expedition car was set on fire and the interior completely burned out.
At Tobuk Alley, weeks ago, two side-by-sides, a boat and a minivan were set on fire and burned out.
And then there was a fire to a parked Suburban SUV at Warren Place that was set on fire a couple of weeks ago.
The police is asking for the public’s assistance. If you have any information or leads to information on the cause of the fire that police believe to have been intentionally set, please contact NPD at 907-443-5262 or submit a tip on the crime line 907-443-8509. NPD does take anonymous tips.