Bellevue firefighters spent Sunday afternoon containing two fires from two abandoned properties at Paradise Lakes housing community.

The first call came in at around 3:45 p.m. Sunday, said Bellevue Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Wagner.

"Smoke was in the area of 35th Avenue and Harlan Lewis Road," Wagner said. "I was first in and I found two houses totally involved in the fire."

Wagner contacted Papillion's and Offutt Air Force Base's Fire Departments to assist. 

Wagner said the two houses were separated by another property, and the fires both started in the garages. It took 30 minutes for the two fires to be contained.

Wagner said the departments were on site for about three-and-a-half hours before they could wrap it up.

Because the housing community is condemned and empty due to the flooding this spring, Wagner said he suspects ill-intent.

"Shortly after my arrival, I thought this was suspicious in nature, and I immediately called for the city fire marshal, fire investigator to come out," he said. 

Wagner said the fires are under investigation and interviews will be conducted with anyone who may have seen anything.

With Paradise Lakes' homes not yet torn down following the flooding, Wagner said he advises the public to avoid the area at all costs.

"It's a dangerous area," he said. "No one should be going in there. Anyone in there was looking to cause problems, and they did.

"You still have people gaining access to that area, and that's going to continue until every one of those structures is gone."

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