20211011-LOC-PutneyUSE

Vermont State Police say this fire early Saturday morning at Rod’s Towing and Repair in Putney caused more than $250,000 in damage.

PUTNEY, Vt. — Vermont State Police are investigating a pair of suspicious fires in Putney, including a three-alarm blaze early Saturday morning that caused severe damage to an auto repair shop.

Authorities are looking into whether that fire — which broke out at Rod’s Towing and Repair at 40 Main St. around 1:30 a.m. — is connected to another one last Saturday evening that destroyed an unoccupied residential trailer and vehicle, State Police said in a news release Saturday afternoon.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire at Rod’s Towing and Repair, “but [it] is believed to be the result of direct human involvement,” police said in the release.

A passerby first reported the blaze when he was driving home after work. When firefighters arrived, they found heavy fire in a building that is used to store tires and other supplies. The structure sustained extensive fire, smoke and water damage, totaling more than $250,000, police said.

Authorities are also investigating another fire in nearby Dummerston, according to the release. In that fire, a man reported putting a chair at the end of his driveway Friday afternoon and discovering it had been set ablaze sometime after midnight, police said.

Anyone with information on any of these fires is asked to contact Vermont State Police in Westminster at 802-722-4600 or the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program at 800-32-ARSON. Authorities may offer a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest in this case.

Jack Rooney can be reached at 603-352-1234, extension 1404, or jrooney@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.