The owner of the property talks to a police officer guarding the scene, after an overnight fire on Trafalgar St. near Bancroft Road in London, Ont. on Friday August 26, 2016. The owner of the property said that the house was due to be demolished anyway shortly. The owner said he checked the property daily and kept the building secured. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

The owner of the property talks to a police officer guarding the scene, after an overnight fire on Trafalgar St. near Bancroft Road in London, Ont. on Friday August 26, 2016. The owner of the property said that the house was due to be demolished anyway shortly. The owner said he checked the property daily and kept the building secured. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

The owner doesn’t believe anything suspicious happened, but authorities including arson investigators are probing an east-end London fire at a boarded-up home.

The Thursday night blaze was one of two in the area — a vehicle on a nearby street caught fire — that broke out within an hour of each other, both of which police consider suspicious.

“I don’t think there were any long-term squatters on the property — I drive by every day before work and never noticed anything too bad,” the owner of the one-acre Trafalgar Street property said Friday, hours after the overnight fire.

He said he sometimes finds nails missing from the boards over the doors and windows.

“It’s boarded up with old nails and screws, anyone with a crowbar can pry them off,” said the man, who did not want to be identified.

Fire crews responded to the blaze at the abandoned home just after 11 p.m. Thursday night. Police said there were no reports of injuries and it wasn’t clear whether someone had been there where the fire broke out. The incident is being treated as suspicious and remains under investigation by firefighters and London police.

Arson is suspected in an overnight fire on Trafalgar Road near Bancroft Road in London, Ont. on Friday August 26, 2016.  The owner of the property said that the house was due to be demolished anyway shortly. The owner said he checked the property daily and kept the building secured. Mike Hensen/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Arson is suspected in an overnight fire on Trafalgar Road near Bancroft Road in London, Ont. on Friday August 26, 2016. The owner of the property said that the house was due to be demolished anyway shortly. The owner said he checked the property daily and kept the building secured. Mike Hensen/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

“We are continuing to investigate,” said London Const. Kim Flett. “All I can tell you is that auto and arson is investigating.”

The damages are estimated at $175,000.

The city maintains a watch list of vacant properties it monitors for unlawful activity and entry, but the boarded-up place isn’t among those 143 homes, said Orest Katolyk, the city’s bylaw enforcement manager.

“We did have property bylaw issues (there) in the past that were resolved in 2012 and 2013,” he said. “We do have some buildings that we go to (city) council for to request them to be demolished, but this is not one of them.”

The owner said he had been waiting for a natural gas utility to check the property so he could have the building demolished.

Less than an hour after Thursday’s blaze broke out, firefighters were called to a burning vehicle on Martinet Avenue, which police are also investigating.

The damage is estimated at $10,000.

Police were looking into whether or not the two fires are related.

hailey.salvian@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/HaileyAtLFPress

Source: Suspicious fires probed | The London Free Press