Residents talk safety after string of Mass. fires

AP News
Posted: Dec 30, 2009 12:13 AM

Residents of a western Massachusetts city are discussing how they can improve their safety after a string of suspicious weekend fires, including one in which two people died.

At least nine fires were reported early Sunday in houses and cars within a half-mile radius in the college town of Northampton. Authorities say they suspect arson.

Hundreds of people met with local officials Tuesday night and discussed plans to set up a neighborhood watch program, solicit donations to help victims and encourage a fundraising effort to boost a $5,000 state reward for information leading to an arrest.

Residents say they're angry and shocked by the fires, but aren't frightened enough to move away.

Fire officials in Worcester (WUS'-tur) say they're also investigating a series of suspected arsons.