Arsonist setting fires in Gary's Midtown neighborhood

A portion of a wall begins to collapse during a fire at a vacant home in the 2000 block of Oakwood Drive in Gary last year. Police say an arsonist is active in the Midtown neighborhood.

Jeff Dildine, The Times

A rash of arsons has spread across Gary's Midtown neighborhood in recent days.

An arsonist or arsonists have been setting fires throughout the centrally located neighborhood along Broadway in the late evenings and early mornings, according to the Gary Police Department. 

Gary, which was estimated in 2015 to have nearly 7,000 vacant buildings, has periodically suffered from problems with arson. An arson fire killed three children in December 2016, and the infamous blaze of 1997 rampaged through downtown, destroying several buildings and damaging City Methodist Church, the former Goldblatt's Department Store and the historic Memorial Auditorium where the Jackson Five first performed.

Anyone with any information about the latest rash of arsons in Midtown should call Detective Sgt. Mark Salazar at 219-881-7431. Tips also can anonymously be made to Gary's Crime Tip Line at 866-CRIME-GP.

 

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.