SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Firefighters were busy overnight and into the early hours of Sunday, extinguishing what they believe were 10 small arson blazes set in a Santa Rosa neighborhood.
In the wake of the killer wildfires that ravaged Santa Rosa last October, the outbreak has neighbors on edge.
“Anybody who sets fires — it’s deplorable,” Laura Loomis, who lives near where the fires were set, told KPIX 5.
Santa Rosa fire officials said they got the first 911 calls around midnight, reporting a fire along the railroad tracks at Hearn Ave. in southwest Santa Rosa. By 1:30 a.m, the number of fires had grown to 10.
Three small vegetation fires were found burning near the railroad tracks between Hearn and Barham Avenues around 11:46 p.m.
Not long after those fires were extinguished, fire crews received a report of more small grass fires burning in the area of Dutton Avenue and West Third Street and the Santa Rosa Creek Trail from Dutton Avenue to Fulton Road.
“Fortunately these were all small fires, but we don’t want whoever did this to continue and it turn into something much bigger,” said Paul Lowenthal of the Santa Rosa Fire Department.
The largest fire was reported to be 1/4 acre. All fires were extinguished in less than two hours.
“Given the volume of fires, one after another over the course of an hour and a half all along a walking path, we are confident it was arson,” Lowenthal said.
The locations of the fires, officials said, leads them to believe the arsonist was on foot.
“To purposely set a fire is to destroy,” Loomis said. “Give what happened in October, it’s doubly bad because everyone knows now what damage that can do.”
Luckily, the fires did not damage property or cause any injuries. But potential was another disaster existed.
“Setting a fire here, it can race right up or down the tracks and have the whole town ablaze again,” Loomis said. “I hope they catch this person and prosecute to the full extent of the law.”