New Haven investigates a half dozen overnight fires, many at student housing

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NEW HAVEN – The New Haven Fire Marshals office is investigating six overnight fires, three of which happened at buildings standing right next to each other on Crown Street. The fire marshal calls those blazes suspicious.

"They were all exterior, all similar in nature, and they all were not extended into the actual interior of the building," Fire Marshal Robert Doyle said.

The three buildings included Yale graduate housing, a swim team house and a Yale fraternity. In all, 20 people lived in the three structures.

The fraternity brothers said they were alerted to the fire by residents across the street. Their home suffered the most damage. Thankfully, no one was injured.

"I was in bed asleep and I hear somebody in the house start screaming everybody get out," fraternity brother Adam Sokol said.

Officials say they aren't sure when the residents will be let back in. The residents have been moved to another location.

The fires started around 2:30 a.m. in the graduate house, but all of the blazes were quickly put out. A State Police k-9 was brought to the scene to determine whether an accelerant was used.

Investigators have not said if there is a suspect since they are not yet sure if the fires were intentionally set, but surveillance video from the gas station on the corner of Crown Street, which abuts the graduate student house, shows a person fleeing through the gas station parking lot at 2:31 a.m. In the video, the street lights up from the fire, and then a person rounds the corner appearing to hold a bucket.

There was also a fire on Osbourne Street early Thursday morning in a building in which University of New Haven students live, as well as two other fires. A fire on Fairfield Street has been ruled an accident started by a cigarette.

All of the fires remain under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the New Haven fire marshal's office at 203-946-6232.