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Two arrested after third city park fire
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MONROE - Two Monroe juveniles are awaiting possible citations following a fire in a municipal park Sunday.

Police were dispatched to assist the Monroe Fire Department at about 8:45 p.m. in East School Park at 2200 9th Street, for materials set on fire on top of a picnic table in an open shelter.

According to Monroe Police Chief Fred Kelley, residents in the park area observed the juveniles, who are 13 and 14 years old. After being contacted by the residents, police found them in the neighborhood.

Kelley said the fire incident Sunday is "similar" to park fires reported in two other city parks on Aug. 12, but he does not know yet if they are related.

Police are looking into the possible intentional setting of the previous fires because of the "coincidental circumstances" and the "relatively short time" between the two incidents, Kelley said.

A fire in Recreation Park was reported at 6:57 p.m. Aug. 12 in a trash barrel in a south shelter.

The Monroe Fire Department pulled the barrel out from under the shelter and extinguished it.

Park Supervisor Paul Klinzing said the metal trash barrel is "damaged but usable."

Later, at 7:14 p.m. Aug.12, materials on fire on a park bench in the southwest corner of Twining Park were reported.

The fire was extinguished by visitors in the park before police arrived.

Police reported minimal damage to the park bench in Twining Park.

Both incident reports indicate two people were seen in the area a short time before the fires were seen.

The Monroe Fire Department was dispatched to both incidents.

- Tere Dunlap