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Arson investigation opened after fire damages three houses on NW side

Posted at 10:34 AM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 21:12:33-04

The Pima County Sheriff's Department is now investigating a house fire that damaged three homes on the Northwest side as arson. The fire started in the back of one house and spread to the two on either side of it.

The Sheriff's Department said they are investigating this as arson because no one was at the burning house when deputies and fire crews arrived. 

The call came in around 10 p.m. Thursday night to a neighborhood near Shannon Rd. and Cortaro Farms Road. Neighbors told KGUN9 the flames were extremely high and could be seen more than a block away. Crews were able to knock down the fire quickly. No one was injured.

Neighbors on the street had to be evacuated for more than an hour and a half while firefighters knocked out the flames.

The man who lives next door to the house that originally caught fire said the house has been unoccupied for about a month after the last renters had moved out. He was not home when the fire started and said firefighters had to break into his back sliding door and open up his ceiling to stop the fire from spreading to his house. Multiple rooms in his house are now soaked from the water hose, and he has smoke damage on the side of his house and roof.

The Southern Arizona Red Cross is assisting the two families living on either side of the house that burned down.