Updated 06/22/2012 06:15 PM
Syracuse Police asking Tipp Hill residents to keep eye out for unusual activity
It could end up as a case of homicide. Police are trying to figure out what caused a fire that has now left a 90-year-old man dead. YNN's Bill Carey says that fire is just one of several in a Syracuse neighborhood drawing close scrutiny from investigators.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For two families, this was home. Home, that is, until fire swept through the building back in May.
Fire investigators eventually determined that this fire was intentionally set. But it was not to be the last fire, here in the Tipperary Hill area, that would draw the attention of authorities.
Authorities aren't ready to say they have a series of arson cases on their hands. But they say they are closely reviewing evidence from seven different fires.
“All of the fires have occurred in the Tipp Hill area of the city during the overnight hours. These fires started on May the 4th. The last of which occurred on June 18th at 424 Cayuga Street,” said Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler.
The fire on Cayuga had left a 90-year-old man, Frederick Brown, critically injured. Investigators pored over the scene looking for some clue as to how the fire began in the rear of the home. Now things have changed. Frederick Brown died on Thursday.
Fowler said, “Mr. Brown died as a result of that fire, from his injuries. So if it's determined that the fire was intentionally set, then it will, indeed, be classified as a homicide and we will investigate it.”
The toughest task for investigators now is trying to figure out if all seven fires were set and whether they are related. They do have enough information to say things are suspicious.
“There's an area. It's unusual for this amount of activity in an area. We have fires all the time in the City of Syracuse. But the activity in this specific area is really what makes it unusual,” Syracuse Fire Chief Mark McLees said.
The two chiefs appeared at a joint news conference to issue a plea for the public's help. Those living in the Tipperary Hill area are being asked to report anything unusual.
“Call the police department. Those guys are there. They'll be there to take the information down,” McLees said. “Let us decide whether it's good information or not worthy. It's no different than homeland security. If you see something, say something.”
They hope new information will aid in their investigations and, more importantly, head off fire number eight.
Anyone with information on unusual activity in the Tipperary Hill area is asked to call police at (315) 442-5222.