Two homes under construction, and the entire facing wall of a third home were heavily damaged by a suspicious fire on Lawson Road, west of Sandbar Street last August in London, Ont. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

London police are looking for one or more suspects after a string of unsolved arsons at homes under construction in the city’s north end — blazes that have caused more than $500,000 damage.

Police are appealing to the public for help as they probe seven arson and mischief incidents in a northwest London neighbourhood. The latest occurred Tuesday evening.

Police and firefighters arrived at a half-built home on Lawson Road near Sandbar Street, not far from Sarnia and Hyde Park roads, and found the structure on fire.

Damage from the fire is estimated at $10,000.

“Any fire like that in a building, whether it’s occupied or not, creates a lot of risk for the police, for the fire services and just for people in the area,” said Sgt. Blair Harvey. “What we need is for people that live in the area to be vigilant.”

London police distributed about 100 flyers in the neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon, a rare move for the department, Harvey said.

“Arson is a difficult crime to investigate,” said Harvey. “This is certainly a challenging investigation for us. We’re hoping . . . people will report anything they see.”

Since August, police say there have been numerous blazes at under-construction homes. Police say a person or persons have been entering the partially built houses and lighting fires inside.

All have been deemed suspicious by investigators, but Harvey said they’re likely mischief or vandalism-related.

“There’s certain commonalities amongst them,” he said. “They’ve all been houses under construction. These fires break out in the evening hours.”

In August, the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal was called to investigate after an overnight fire levelled two homes under construction and damaged two others on the same street.

London police are asking neighbours to report suspicious people by calling 911 immediately.

jbieman@postmedia.com

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Source: Police probe months-long arson string | the London Free Press