By Bill Shields

HANSON (CBS) -Is an arsonist on the loose south of Boston? And if so, is he escalating his practice?

The latest building to go up in smoke was an abandoned factory building in Hanson Tuesday morning.

“Well, I only used it for storage,” said the owner, Ken Marstons,” but I hope they catch him soon, before someone gets hurt.”

Also Tuesday morning, firefighters were called to Quincy for a fire in an office space. That fire has been ruled arson.

In the past two months, 17 buildings south of Boston have been torched, all of them unoccupied.

The State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who often join the investigative team when commercial buildings are involved, are investigating the Hanson blaze but so far have not reached a conclusion about its origin.

Still, firefighters in the area are now joining forces with police, to prevent more fires.

“I have met with our police chief, and their overnight patrols will now focus on abandoned buildings, and buildings under construction,” said Whitman Fire Chief Tim Grenno.

Yesterday morning, an unoccupied home was set ablaze in Halifax, and two firefighters were injured trying to put it out.

Just an hour before, and almost two miles away, an old barn was set on fire in Plympton. Several fires believed to have been arson in Southern Massachusetts are currently being investigated.

“There is obviously great concern that this fire may be connected to the fires that occurred in Halifax and Plympton yesterday morning, but until we determine if this fire was intentionally set or not, it would be premature to speculate. I would ask our citizens to be vigilant and if they saw anything or anyone around the scene of these fires to call local police or the statewide Arson Hotline at 1-800-682-9229,” State Fire Marshal Coan said.


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