SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A burglarized home was lit on fire in Sonoma County on Tuesday evening—the third such incident in recent months, a fire official said.
An intruder set three separate fires Tuesday inside a 1,069-square-foot, single-family home in the 3000 block of Fulton Road, northwest of Santa Rosa, Central Fire Authority fire prevention officer Cyndi Foreman said.
A female resident arrived home around 7 p.m. and saw smoke coming from a broken window on her front door.
Firefighters initially thought the blaze was cooking-related, but then discovered that a blanket had been set atop a kitchen stove that had been turned on, and clothes had been set on fire in two bedrooms, Foreman said.
The fires had burned themselves out before firefighters arrived, but there was heat and smoke damage to the home, Foreman said. The resident said several items, including jewelry and a laptop, were missing, Foreman said.
“The house had been torn apart and trashed,” Foreman said.
On May 19, residents of the 3600 block of Banyan Place in Santa
Rosa arrived home to find their house burning.
Once that blaze was extinguished, the victims also realized that their home had been burglarized, according to Santa Rosa police.
A month earlier, around 4 p.m. on April 20, a fire had been reported in the 1500 block of Banyan Place, just blocks from the site of the May 19 fire.
That home had been burglarized as well, and a neighbor reported seeing a man knocking on the front door of the residence before the fire started, police said.
The suspect was described as a man between 40 and 50 years old, possibly wearing a light-colored T-shirt and jeans.
Three other burglaries were reported in the same neighborhood in April, though the others did not involve arson, Santa Rosa police said.
Foreman said the three burned and burglarized homes are easily accessible by foot or bicycle because they are close to railroad tracks that provide “an easy and direct route.”
She said it is unusual for someone to start a fire to cover up a residential burglary.
“It adds insult to injury,” she said. “This is a dangerous and destructive person.”
The Rincon Valley Fire Protection District is investigating the series of arson fires with the Santa Rosa Fire Department, Santa Rosa Police Department and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Foreman said.
The Rincon Valley and Windsor fire protection districts comprise the Central Fire Authority of Sonoma County.
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