East Bay News

Arson suspected in Antioch fires

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Contra Costa County firefighters are investigating four suspicious fires over the past week that have threatened homes in Antioch, and homeowners say they have been dealing with threatening fires for the past three years.

"They burned that, and then today, they came over here," William King said, referring a 1-acre grass fire that came close to his home on Point Dume Court. Contra Costa fire fighters quickly put the fire out, but not before it damaged an outbuilding close to King's home. Battalion Chief John Kipp says the fires are suspicious.

"All three of these fires are suspicious in nature. They're along a walking path with easy access, so we're concerned about one, fires starting this early in the season and two, we do have someone starting the fires," he said.

King is concerned for his two young children. They have lived there for the past eight years. For the past three, he has been worried about his home being burned to the ground by one or more arsonists.

"This is like three years in a row it's happened. This time, it's three days in a row," he told ABC7. "I went out there with a bucket, dipped water from the pool and put out as much as we could until the fire department came."

Blackened and charred grass spots throughout the park are where the four fires have been set, according to fire fighters, much too close to more than a dozen homes that surround the park. For 16-year-old Keith Mythen, these fires are getting pretty common.

"Seems like it happens every year for some reason," he said.

King says he saw someone running from a larger fire set in the park last year, but so far, fire investigators do not have any suspects. Because the fires have been a regular occurrence, the King's two children have their own fire duties.

"When there's like a fire really close, first we alarm our parents. Then, we go to my friend's house over there and we wait until it's safe enough to go outside," 12-year-old Quevarna King explained.

9-year-old William Tyrone King Jr. said his duties are "to ring the door bell of our neighbors and tell them there's a fire."

Kipp says, "We'd like to get this under control prior to the hot weather, before we do have any damage to homes."

Antioch police say they are stepping up patrols in order find the arsonist.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
antioch, contra costa county, crime, fire, arson, east bay news
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