HAMMOND | Officials are investigating two separate house fires that occurred early Monday and appear to have been started intentionally.
The first fire happened just before midnight on the main floor of a two-story house in the 5700 block of Erie Street, said Kevin Margraf, deputy chief for the Hammond Fire Department.
He said flames spread to the exterior of the second floor and caused minor heat damage to a nearby house. The house was vacant and did not have any working utilities, Margraf said.
The second fire happened less than a mile away at 3 a.m. in the 700 block of Sibley Street, he said. The fire started on the main floor and caused the roof to collapse.
The house on Sibley Street was vacant but appeared to have been in the process of being rehabbed, Margraf said.
Investigators suspect the fires were intentionally set but didn't think they were connected. Margraf said a window and a door were open or unlocked in each property. There weren't any working utilities in either house.
"Human elements were involved in both," he said.
The house on Sibley Street has been vacant for a while and has had multiple fires, Margraf said.
Investigators weren't sure who owns either property.