Peoria Fire Department Dealing With Spate of Arson Fires

Jun 3, 2020

The Peoria Fire Department has stayed busy this week, putting out fires set to businesses, homes, cars and dumpsters. At least 15 arson fires have been reported during the overnight hours this week.

A vehicle was set on fire next to the Peoria County Parole office at 1115 N. North Street. The flames then spread to the building, causing about $65,000 in damage.

Fire Chief Tony Ardis said they don't have evidence to suggest the parole office was a target. He said it could've just been a coincidence.

"It could've just been it was a nice opportunity because the vehicle was sitting out, it was dark, right next to a building. We have no indication the intent was to do any harm specifically because of how that building is used," Ardis said.

Ardis said there's no reason to believe the numerous arson fires this week connected - except by the emotions being felt in the wake of George Floyd's death.

"One big reason is a few of them were going on at the same time, on different parts of the city. We don't feel that it's one or two people who are doing this. We feel that it's just part of what is going on right now," he said. 

Ardis said some businesses and property owners may have a hard time collecting insurance money, as many providers won't cover arson cases.

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