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LENOIR, NC (WBTV) -
Two fires that broke out within minutes of each other in Lenoir Sunday night may have been deliberately set, and possibly by the same person.
That's what fire investigators said on Monday.
One fire broke out behind the old Catholic Church on College Avenue around 8 p.m. A second fire was reported just minutes later at A New Dimension, a drug counseling center, on South Main Street a few blocks away.
"Yes they are suspicious," said Deputy Fire Chief Ken Hair. Hair said investigators are still trying to determine exactly how each fire started but said it is possible they were set by the same person.
"We hope not but if it was like that we want to make sure we stop it," said Hair.
The building that caught fire behind the old Catholic Church was vacant and has not been used in years. Hair estimates that 25% of the interior was gutted by the fire.
At the drug counseling center, the fire was confined to the basement area. Damage to that business was minimal.
Authorities are reminding downtown business owners to make sure their buildings are secure and to watch for anything suspicious.
No one was hurt in the fires, though one firefighter suffered effects of dehydration while battling one of the blazes. He was treated and released from a local hospital.
Anyone with information as to how the fires may have started and who, if anyone, was involved is urged to call the Lenoir Fire Department.