BELLEVILLE – In what police are calling a suspicious fire, a vacant house at 232 Coleman St. burned to the ground Monday morning.
It was not the first fire on Coleman this year: “In the last five months there have been three fires (on) Coleman Street,” Sgt. Tim Vanhecke of the Belleville Fire Department told QNet News Tuesday.
Sgt. Julie Forestell of the Belleville Police said she could not say whether police believe the fires are connected.
“We are unable to release more information because it might interfere with our investigations,” Forestell said.
But police have called two of the fires – Monday’s, and one that took place Jan. 11 at 294 Coleman St. – suspicious. The third fire took place May 20 and was reported at the time to have been caused by cooking.
Police charged a 51-year-old Belleville man, Robert Rowe, with arson in the Jan. 11 fire. Rowe evaded police until Feb. 7, when he was apprehended at 52 Hillside St. Rowe was also charged with criminal harassment, theft under $5,000, and uttering threats. On June 2, Rowe pleaded guilty to the charge of uttering threats and was put on probation for 18 months. The other charges, including the arson charge, were withdrawn.
The police and fire departments continue to investigate Monday’s fire.