Archive for Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Burning books cause damage to store

Fire outside Half Price Books called arson

February 1, 2005


Police and fire officials are investigating a fire started with a stack of about 20 discarded books during the weekend at the loading dock of Half Price Books, 1519 W. 23rd St.

A store employee noticed the fire around 9 a.m. Sunday and called 911. The fire caused only minor damage to the outside of the building.

Fire investigators are classifying it as an arson but say it's too early to tell whether the fire is linked to three other fires last week, all of which were set outside downtown buildings. In those cases, it appeared someone had been setting the fires during the night to keep warm.

"I don't really think that's what this was," bookstore manager Jef Leisgang said.

In other news related to the recent fires, Lawrence Police on Saturday documented that someone had come to the News Center, 645 N.H., and left cigarette butts, spare change and a municipal court ticket for burning without a permit inside the entryway.

The ticket had been issued to James A. Moore, 43, the man who fire investigators allege is responsible for two fires downtown last week.

Police first arrested Moore for allegedly starting a fire early Tuesday morning that caused minor damage at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vt.; on Thursday night, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical investigators arrested him in connection with a fire that caused minor damage to the stairwell of the SBC building, 734 Vt.

In both cases, prosecutors say, they couldn't charge Moore with arson because it appeared the fires had been started to keep warm, not to damage the buildings. Instead, he's been cited for burning without a permit.

A similar fire, apparently started with building materials in a secluded area off an alley, caused $30,000 damage last week to Kimbari, an import store at 15 W. Ninth St.

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