Arsonist suspected of setting six fires in SLO

May 7, 2015

arsonAn arsonist or a group of arsonists is suspected of setting six small brush fires in San Luis Obispo Tuesday evening, including one behind the city’s police department. [Tribune]

The fires occurred within a span of about four hours and were promptly extinguished. No one suffered any injuries as a result of the blazes, and the fires only caused minor damage to an irrigation line.

At 6:06 p.m., authorities received a report of the first fire, which was located in vegetation behind the CHP dispatch center in the 600 block of California Boulevard. The second fire appeared minutes later in a brushy area behind the police department on Walnut Street.

A police officer on scene said the fire appeared to have been started in an area with no sign of human activity. The location was too far from Highway 101, though, for a tossed cigarette butt to have caused the fire, the officer said.

The third fire was reported at 6:35 p.m. The blaze was located behind Wheeler-Smith Mortuary in the 2800 block of South Higuera Street.

At 7:34 p.m., authorities received report of the next fire, which occurred at the intersection of Montalban and Santa Rosa streets.

The fifth fire occurred in the 500 block of Mountain View Street. It was reported at 9:33 p.m.

The final fire broke out at around 10:12 p.m. It was located near the intersection of Murray Avenue and Santa Rosa street, just blocks away from the fire on Montalban Street.

San Luis Obispo firefighters and Cal Fire crews responded to the fires. City fire investigators and police detectives are investigating, but they have not identified any arson suspects as of Wednesday afternoon.


Lots of damage can be done by homeless bums with a bic lighter.


Arson cases are extremely hard to prosecute without any witnesses. Even if forensic evidence can reveal the cause, it doesn’t always help to find the culprit, and defense lawyers can often raise enough doubts to forestall a conviction. I hope the person is caught before he/she graduates to a more serious fire. Good luck.