BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The number of suspicious fires at vacant buildings in southwest Baltimore in recent days has grown again, and while two people have been arrested, investigators still have a lot of unanswered questions.

From December 1 to December 7, bright orange flames and flashing red lights have lit up the sky in the area 19 times.

Five of the fires have been ruled as arsons and the rest are under investigation.

A map shows the locations of numerous suspicious fires in southwest Baltimore as of December 6, 2019.

Since all 19 occurred at vacant homes, no injuries have been reported.


Though the homes were vacant, many were attached to homes where people live, putting people in danger, officials said.

Earlier this week, Shawn Krainer and William Ritchie were arrested for allegedly starting two of the fires, but officials have not said if the men were working together.

Shawn Krainer. Credit: Baltimore Police

William Ritchie. Credit: Baltimore Police

“Detectives are working to determine if there are more or if these two suspects are responsible for any additional arsons,” Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said.

Baltimore City Fire Chief Niles Ford was hesitant to comment on where they are in the many investigations as motive remains a big question mark.

“It’s still under investigation though I know it doesn’t seem early,” Ford said. “If we didn’t have so many fires to investigate and figure out if any are in line if they have the same responsibilities, we would have something by now but we are trying to be as deliberate as possible in this process.”

The full list of the fires includes:

December 1:

  • 10:41 p.m.: 2000 block of West Pratt Street
  • 11:49 p.m.: 200 block of South Pulaski Street

December 2:

  • 12:50 a.m.: 2000 block of McHenry Street
  • 1:53 a.m.: 2000 block of Eagle Street
  • 8:10 a.m.: 2000 block of Frederick Avenue
  • 1:33 p.m.: 1900 block of Wilhelm Steet
  • 1:35 p.m.: 1900 block of Wilhelm Street
  • 2:33 p.m.: 1800 block of McHenry Street
  • 3:12 p.m.: 1900 block of Ramsay Street
  • 3:20 p.m.: 2100 block of Wilhelm Street
  • 4:01 p.m.: 1400 block of McHenry Street

December 4:

  • 8:34 a.m.: 300 block of South Gilmor Street
  • 3:40 p.m.: 300 block of South Calhoun Street
  • 7:04 p.m.: 400 block of South Smallwood Street

December 6:

  • 4:27 p.m.: 2400 block of Christian Street
  • 4:46 p.m.: 500 block of South Bentalou Street
  • 5:42 p.m.: 300 block of Furrow Street
  • 5:44 p.m.: 200 block of Furrow Street

December 7:

  • 12:23 a.m.: 2000 block of Frederick Avenue

Anyone with information is asked to call police or Metro Crime Stoppers.

Rachael Cardin


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