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Fresno fire officials investigating string of blazes

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Fresno Fire Department is investigating a string of suspicious fires that destroyed three abandoned homes in a 24-hour span.

One home caught fire Sunday on Ashlan near Blythe in West Central Fresno.

The other two fires happened at homes on Platt near Willow in Fresno County.

Such fires cost the fire department thousands of dollars each time they get a call for service.

What makes things worse is that these fires were apparently set intentionally.

On Monday morning investigators are confident they've uncovered new leads as to who's been behind the senseless fires.

Within an hour Sunday, more than half of the Fresno Fire Department's resources were busy trying to contain two separate fires.

A fire on Willow and Platt in Fresno County started just after four in the afternoon.

"It's pretty scary. This is directly across from us," witness Amber Hubble said.

Hubble says this fire was not an accident.

"We actually just saw two teenaged boys walking through right here, the grassy area, and not even five minutes later there were flames and black smoke," Hubble said.

On Saturday, a home half a block away burned to the ground. That fire is also being treated as suspicious.

Neighbors reported seeing kids in the area before the flames engulfed the abandoned home.

"The fire from yesterday was undetermined; I believe that we called out additional personnel to come look at this because we've had multiple fires in this area of a suspicious nature," Capt. Bob Van Tassel of the Fresno Fire Department said.

Fire investigators called police to help track down the teens Sunday. So far no one has been arrested.

A third abandoned home burned in West Central Fresno Sunday afternoon.

Here neighbors also saw people in the abandoned home at various times in the past few days.

So far investigators have not connected this fire to the ones in Fresno County - the ones in Hubble's neighborhood.

"It's still very scary, it's sad to see properties being burnt for no reason," Hubble said.

And the Fresno Fire Department used more than half of its staff over the weekend to respond to these fires, further stretching available resources.

If there would have been a more serious fire with people involved it would have increased the response times for fire fighters to fight the fire effectively.

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fresno, fresno county, arson, fire, crimetracker, local, tommy tran
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