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Officials Investigate If Two Galena Structure Fires Are Related - KOAM TV 7

Officials Investigate If Two Galena Structure Fires Are Related to Eight Grass Fires

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GALENA, KANSAS -

Officials in Galena say two overnight structure fires appear to be related to eight other grass fires, all considered suspicious.  The eight grass fires, all within a matter of weeks, have been ruled as intentionally set by a state fire investigator.

It's what's inside this building that has Dallas Cook in shock.

"Kind of lost in emotions right now," says Cook.

Cook owns Heartland Boxing Gym, which is heavily damaged after this morning's fire.

"I thank the Galena Fire Department, got the fire out and it didn't spread through the whole building.  But I realize I am going to have a lot of water damage.  It looked pretty much like it was raining inside because it took a massive amount of water to get the fire out," says Cook.

The fire at the gym started at one in the morning.

"It doesn't appear there were any live electrical conductors running to the second floor of the structure.  The fire originated on the second floor of the structure," says state fire investigator Michael Tippie.  "There were ways inside."

Two hours after the gym fire, an abandoned house one mile away was on fire.  Two suspicious structure fires and eight intentionally set grass fires within the last five weeks...

"It does appear they have escalated from simple grass fires to structure fires," says Tippie.

"I try and pray for that guy and hope he gets better.  Gets a better life.  What he did here is ridiculous," says Cook.

Cook's boxing gym housed priceless memorabilia to him.

"Few gloves signed by world champions.  Larry Holmes and Virgil Hill," says Cook.

But Cook says it's what was inside that gym that he cherished the most...friendships.  Seventeen kids who are part of Cook's boxing school, for the time being, no longer have a place to gather.

"Old man above is a good guy and I think he's going to look out for us, and we're going to find somewhere else if we don't stay here, or rebuild back," says Cook.

Officials are asking businesses and homeowners with video surveillance to look back at video and see if they notice anything suspicious from last night.

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