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Arson suspected in repeat fires at St. Cloud apartment building

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Investigators think one person may have started repeat fires that broke out at the same St. Cloud apartment building two straight mornings, the St. Cloud Times reports.

St. Cloud Fire Department crews were first called to the 18-unit Edjwood Estates building Tuesday after 3 a.m. after a report of a fire starting in window frame. The Times says the fire – which caused about $500 in damages – went out on its own.

Firefighters were called again to Edjwood Estates about 3:55 a.m. Wednesday morning to put out a fire that caused about $10,000 in damages. In this incident, tenants were forced to evacuate the building for an hour while crews extinguished the blaze. One person was treated for smoke inhalation.

St. Cloud Fire Battalion Chief Jerry Raymond tells the Times that he suspects it could be the work of a single arsonist, since the blazes took place in "the exact same spot, the same time of day."

Wednesday's fire reportedly started on the carpet on the top two steps leading to the second floor of the three-level apartment building.

The incidents follow a third suspected fire that also broke out at the building on Tuesday, the Times says. Officials say a caretaker reported a fire that went out on its own and didn't require assistance from the fire department.

WJON says the fire department is offering a $2,500 reward to anyone with any information on the fires.

News of the St. Cloud fire comes less than a week after a deadly duplex fire in Minneapolis killed five children from the same family. FOX 9 reports that 15 people were living in the duplex. The same day, two people died when their camper caught fire in Wadena.

On New Year's Day, an explosion and fire at an apartment building in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis killed three people and injured 13.

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