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Businesses damaged in ‘several’ fires set in North Lawrence, fire department says

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Post last updated at 1:47 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17:

Multiple businesses and dumpsters were damaged after fires were set in North Lawrence Wednesday night, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, including one business whose owners fear they won’t be able to reopen.

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“Several” fires were set through the 700-1000 blocks of North Second Street, according to an email from LDCFM Division Chief Kevin Joles.

“Damage to businesses and large garbage receptacles were reported,” Joles said. “There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters. LKPD and LDCFM are continuing to work together on the investigations of the fires.”

Ryan and Marsha Hutton, who own family print shop Lunar Graphix at 725 N. Second St., said the business’s security cameras caught someone setting a fire in a cardboard bin.

The fire set off sprinklers inside, and everything inside the business was destroyed. Ryan Hutton said he thinks they might be forced to close permanently Thursday morning.

Marsha Hutton/Contributed Photo The sprinklers of Lunar Graphix were set off by a fire Wednesday night, destroying everything inside the business, according to the owners.

Sgt. Drew Fennelly of the Lawrence Police Department said via email early Thursday that fires were reported at 1010 N. Third St.; 100 Riverfront Road; 725 N. Second St.; and 401 N. Second St., Johnny’s Tavern.

Fennelly said officers arrested a 19-year-old Lawrence woman in the 100 block of Maple Street just before 11 p.m. Wednesday. She was booked into the Douglas County jail on suspicion of two counts of aggravated arson and five counts of arson at 12:15 a.m. Thursday, the jail’s booking log indicated.

“This investigation was a great example of multi-agency cooperation to provide a swift resolution to a potentially life threatening series of crimes that caused significant damage, but thankfully no injury,” Fennelly said. “While the alleged suspect is in custody, the investigation is ongoing, and LPD will continue to support LDCFM in any way we can.”

All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

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