Arson blazes strike 2 houses in Sanford

The state fire marshal's office is investigating after two homes were set ablaze on the same street in Sanford over the weekend, a city fire inspector said Sunday evening.

The two were the latest in a string of unsolved arson cases in Sanford and Orlando since May.

Sanford firefighters arrived at the first home, at 1309 S. Palmetto Ave., around 11:10 p.m. Saturday. As they were extinguishing that blaze, at about 12:40 a.m. Sunday, a second fire at 1800 S. Palmetto Ave. was reported.

Both were vacant wood-frame homes, Sanford Fire Inspector Matt Minnetto said. But the first home, at 1309, was in otherwise good shape, and it sustained minimal damage. The second home was destroyed.

"All we know for sure is that both fires occurred at vacant, wood-frame homes and both were intentionally set," Minnetto said. "But any time you have two fires that close to each other at about the same time, you have to think they're related."

State investigators took soot samples from both blazes and will test for accelerants. But Minnetto said the results can take several weeks.

On July 3, Sanford's historic Little Red Schoolhouse was destroyed in an overnight arson fire. The building, which also stood on Palmetto Avenue, was built in 1883.

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