Fresno PD officer on paid leave after arsons

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Fresno police officer whose house was firebombed and then set on fire days later is off the job.

The police chief won't say why the female officer was put on paid leave, but Action News has learned she is part of a criminal investigation.

The veteran officer has had her gun and badge taken away. She has been interviewed twice about what happened at her home close to five months ago.

A firebombing last year at a Northwest Fresno home has created plenty of questions for the Fresno police officer who lived here.

Initially, investigators believed the officer may have been targeted because of her job. But now, she is one of a few being interviewed as part of a criminal investigation.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer won't say why the female officer was recently put on leave or if she is a potential suspect in the fire of her own home. "I made the decision recently to have her placed on a number of reasons, none of those which I can disclose publicly but I can say that her being placed on administrative leave is not as a result of discipline."

The officer, who we are not identifying because she has not been arrested, worked out of the southwest policing district. She has been an officer for eight years.

Action News has learned the officer also filed an insurance claim for damages caused by the fires.

Fresno police, working with fire investigators have been able to reach at least some conclusions through months of extensive legwork.

Chief Dyer said, "We believe the person responsible for both fires are the same but we have not determined who is actually responsible."

Police do not believe the fires are related to another arson fire set at the southwest substation just two weeks prior to the fire at the officer's home. Several vehicles were damaged when a 40 ounce beer bottle that smelled like gas burned three vehicles.

Fresno police say this investigation is still active and they are working to solidify some information that could provide a break in the case.

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