Sheriff: Teens seen on roof an hour before flames erupted from house

SALEM, Ore. -- Firefighters responded to a second suspicious fire in less than a month at a bank-owned house Wednesday, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

Now investigators are asking the public for information about people seen on the roof of the house an hour before the fire.

The fire put up a column of thick black smoke visible for miles.

Firefighters arrived to find 20-foot flames erupting from the home on Glendale Avenue, northeast of Salem.

The earlier fire had rendered the house a total loss, so firefighters went to work protecting neighboring homes.

A firefighting force of 30 had the fire under control in 20 minutes.

But the flames had done $35,000 in damage to the house next door before crews got the flames under control.

Like the earlier fire at the 3-bedroom home, the fire Wednesday is being investigated as suspicious.

The property, currently bank-owned, has been vacant for more than a year, neighbors told the sheriff's office. Neighbors have reported an increase in transient activity on the property in the last few months, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office is seeking any witnesses who may be able to provide information about teenagers seen on the roof of the structure approximately one hour prior to the blaze.

If you have any information regarding this incident you can call the Marion County Sheriff's Office Tip Line at 503-540-8079, you can remain anonymous.