The 22 fires reported in the Orting area this year have Pierce County Fire Marshal Warner Webb’s attention because the city usually has only six annually.
The spike has his office, Orting Valley Fire & Rescue and law enforcement looking closer at 15 of those blazes, most small fires, as possible arsons.
Orting Valley Fire Chief Zane Gibson said the most recent blaze being reviewed was reported about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at a house under construction in the 200 block of Gipple Street Northeast.
The fires go back to March, he said. Some were at other houses under construction; others were brush or garbage blazes or in sheds. A barn burned in mid-October.
Investigators are looking at the records for each blaze, and Webb said it’s too soon to identify a pattern.
“We’re not deep enough into it yet,” he said.
Because many of the fires were quickly extinguished and did not cause property damage, his office didn’t investigate them at the time, he said. It’s the large number of blazes that now has them looking at the smaller incidents.
No one has been hurt in the fires and, of the blazes that seem suspicious, no one was inside the structures at the time.
The public is asked to call 911 if they see any unusual activity in the area that could be related to arson.
“We need their help,” Gibson said.