$5,000 reward offered for info about Northampton bike path fires 

  • A section of the bike path under the Jackson Street Bridge in Northampton, where police say they found one of several suspicious fires between June 3 and July 5. STAFF PHOTO/DUSTY CHRISTENSEN

  • A sign advertising a reward for information about suspicious fires along the bike path can be seen at the bike docking station at State and Stoddard streets. STAFF PHOTO/BERA DUNAU

​​​​Staff Writer
Published: 7/10/2019 11:03:49 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The Police Department has announced a $5,000 reward for information on five suspicious fires in the vicinity of the bike path during the past month. 

Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper said that the joint police and fire investigation is considering the possibility that all five fires are related and were set.

Posters publicizing the reward have been distributed in the city, police said. The money for the reward is from the Arson Watch Reward Program, which is sponsored by property and casualty insurance companies. 

The posters feature a confidential number (800-682-9229) and state that up to $5,000 will be paid “for any information which helps detect or prevent an arson fire.”

The five fires occurred between June 3 and July 5. Two of them involved bikes being set ablaze at the docking station at State and Stoddard streets.

The first fire occurred shortly after midnight June 3 under the Jackson Street bridge, and a second fire was reported the same morning behind 265 Prospect St. On June 19 and June 27, police responded to fires that damaged bikes at the docking station at State and Stoddard streets, and a nearby tree was also found on fire on the latter date. 

A fifth fire was reported near 37 Hatfield St. on July 5 in the early evening. The unattended fire was extinguished by people with water bottles before police arrived, police said. 

The fires are being investigated by the Northampton Police Department, North-ampton Fire Department and Massachusetts State Police. 

“We’re just asking people to be aware when they’re walking on the path,” said Kasper, who encouraged people to report any suspicious activity.

Anyone with information related to the case should contact the Police Department’s detective bureau at 587-1100.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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