Investigators: Southeast Fresno Fire May Be Arson

Published 06/14 2014 09:18PM

Updated 06/15 2014 12:50PM

Fire investigators are looking into a string of fires that may be the work of an arsonist, including a fire Saturday afternoon in Southeast Fresno that burned two sheds behind a vacant house on Dwight Avenue near Orange Avenue.

No injuries were reported.

Just last week, there was a fire at the same home where firefighters responded Saturday. 

Now, the fire department, the police department, and federal agents from the ATF are investigating these suspicious fires that have broken out in the last few weeks.

The fire happened around 1:45 p.m. Firefighters quickly brought it under control.

"But it's a warm summer day, right in the afternoon, this is the second day on for these firefighters, so it is extra work that's really not welcome during this time of year," says Rich Cabral, Battalion Chief with the Fresno Fire Department.

It's extra work as investigators try to identify a possible arsonist in a string of fires that have kept crews busy for the last several weeks.

In May, a vacant downtown building went up in flames and burned for hours.

Early last week all on the same night, there were two large fires on the Fulton Mall and one at a recycling plant only two miles from the one Saturday afternoon.

"It is suspicious. It is under investigation," Cabral says.

Saturday, police officers joined fire investigators--interviewing neighbors door to door to gather information to try to identify a suspect.

"We did have a good description of a Hispanic male adult, approximately young 20s, on a bicycle that we are currently looking for," says Don MacAlpine, Deputy Fire Marshal with the Fresno Fire Department.

Investigators are focusing on the increased amount of fires downtown, on some freeways, and in Southeast Fresno.

"I'm treating all fires right now in this are, the area I just mentioned, as possibly related to the serial fires," MacAlpine says.

The amount of damage caused has not yet been determined. 

Investigators are asking the public to be alert, especially if you live near a vacant structure, and to report any suspicious activity by calling police or Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP.

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