Canton police said Saturday they had arrested two juveniles for setting fire to a vacant house Friday night. They're investigating whether the two also set fire to three downtown buildings that were destroyed.
Fire officials say the three buildings were fully engulfed in flames around 7:45 p.m. Friday. Two were warehouses and one was a paint shop. Until they were demolished, the buildings sat at 407, 409 and 411 Lewis Street.
Police said Saturday they had enough evidence to arrest the two juveniles for setting fire to an abandoned house at 712 Lewis Street around 6 p.m. Friday night. That fire was quickly extinguished. Police continue to investigate whether the juveniles were involved in the other three building fires Friday night that have already been ruled "incendiary in nature" by police.
The three buildings were owned by Robert Janney. Janney said he ran a construction supply business and one of the buildings contained a lot of tools.
Janney said community members were allowed in for about 30 minutes when firefighters deemed it safe to go in, but when a building appeared to be unstable, the people were evacuated again. Janney said they were able to clear out some of the explosive paint thinners.
Fire officials were worried about the Friday night's windy conditions. They feared the flames would spread to another neighboring business. Officials said extra tankers were brought in to supply water to fight the massive blaze and crews brought water from the Mississippi River.
Firefighters from Canton, LaGrange, Monticello and Ewing were called in to battle the blaze.