Police are investigating a possible arson fire that occurred Sunday night just blocks from a house in northwest Minot that was heavily damaged by another potential deliberately set fire only 27 hours earlier.
One house at 412-5th Ave. NW was almost completely razed Sunday and houses to either side were damaged extensively in the blaze, which was reported to police about 11:15 p.m. Sunday.
The three damaged houses are located only a short distance away from the east parking lot of Erik Ramstad Middle School, which was destroyed by the flooding from the Souris River.
This house at 338 Walders St. was heavily damaged Saturday night in a fire being investigated as a possible arson.
The incident came on the heels of a fire that ravaged yet another unoccupied house at 338 Walders St. around 8:20 p.m. on Saturday. That house is only two blocks east and one block south from the Fifth Avenue location.
According to a press release, police and fire personnel were dispatched Sunday to a report of a house fire in northwest Minot.
When police arrived on scene, "one house was completely engulfed in flames and two houses were beginning to catch fire," officials said.
All three houses were vacant since the flood.
Lt. Jason Sundbakken, the Minot Police Department's lead arson investigator, was responding to yet another possible arson fire - this one a fatal incident in southwest Minot - late Monday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.
Capt. Jason Olson, the department's operations commander, said Monday that the Walders Street and Fifth Avenue scenes are both being investigated as possible related acts of arson, especially considering their proximity.
"We certainly are considering that as a possibility, but we can't say with any certainty that they are at this point," Olson said.
He declined to speculate on how the fires were started if it was arson.