One after another, the fires were set at vacant houses, forcing Baton Rouge firefighters to battle three blazes within a few blocks of one another Thursday night.

Firefighters responded first to a reported house fire at the corner of North 36th and Zion streets, said Curt Monte, a Fire Department spokesman.

What they found, however, was a small trash fire inside the vacant house. The flames were quickly extinguished, Monte said.

But while putting out those flames, firefighters realized another house was ablaze in the 1300 block of North Acadian Thruway East, only a couple of blocks away. And while they were battling that fire, neighbors alerted firefighters to another blaze just down the street at 1436 N. Acadian Thruway East, Monte said.

The second house was destroyed by fire, although firefighters were able to prevent it from spreading to adjacent houses. At the third vacant house, firefighters arrived soon enough to contain the flames to the front of the house, Monte said.

Witnesses pointed out a suspect to investigators who took the man into custody. As of Thursday night, the man had not been arrested, but he was being questioned, Monte said.

All three fires were intentionally set, the Fire Department said.

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