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San Diego firebugs ignite late summer blazes

Chula Vista, Grant Hill, El Cajon, Fiesta Island

Aug. 29 Enchanted Isle.
Aug. 29 Enchanted Isle.

On October 5, someone called the Chula Vista Police Department regarding a burglar alarm on 3rd Avenue and F Street, says 911 Video News on their YouTube video. The police found a fire at the address, and fire department units were deployed. The raw footage, partly titled "Chula Vista: Suspected Arson," depicts three fire engines and at least a dozen fire department personnel assessing the smokey Labor Finders employment agency's office.

"Upon arriving at the scene, just out of the smell of smoke in the air, crews investigated and located an exterior fire in one of the commercial structures behind me," said the Battalion Chief Brendan Barahura in 911's posted clip.

The smokey Labor Finders employment agency's office in Chula Vista.

The firefighters had already put out the fire in the office. Still, it was smoldering, and the smoke from the office was wafting upwards into the second floor's businesses and next door at Brain Balance of Chula Vista. No injuries were reported.

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As this article goes to print, there isn't an update on the Wednesday morning "suspected arson."

On the morning of October 1, someone in the Grant Hill neighborhood called the fire department about a house burning on the 2800 block of K Street. The firefighters arrived shortly after 4 am and extinguished the fire within 25 minutes, according to the 911 Video News YouTube page. They added, "Firefighters made their way inside the structure but did not find any victims. Firefighters stated the residence has a history of squatters living inside." Meanwhile, SDPD assisted in evacuating the homes surrounding the now burned-down single-story home. "The Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) is on the scene investigating the cause of the fire."

MAST investigators, who were called in in most of the incidents in this article, are cross-trained to achieve expertise in fire and explosives investigation and police procedure; the fire investigators are peace officers, are armed, and have powers of arrest.

October 1 Grant Hill. "The residence has a history of squatters living inside."

MAST was formed in 1980 in response to a growing arson problem in the city.

Arsons increased from 21,829 incidents in 2020 to 26,491 in 2021 throughout the U.S., according to the National Incident-Based Reporting System Tables. And while no available stats show 2022 numbers, it seems in August, in San Diego, there was a surge of alleged arsons, where two locals died.

On August 29, a man swam to an island called Enchanted Isle near Fiesta Island in Mission Bay and set it on fire, says the SDPD Facebook page. Lifeguards boated in, and while fighting the fire, they saw the alleged arsonist was still on the island and called in SDPD. "Our beach team officers hitched a ride with lifeguards on their boat to arrest the man," said the SDPD. The Metro Arson Strike Team responded and determined the fire was arson, and the fire did not spread outside the island.

According to mainstream news outlets, on August 19, in El Cajon, a 58-year-old man said he would commit suicide by firearm and supposedly set fire to his home's detached garage. The unidentified man's family was evacuated. The fire department had difficulty putting out the fire because of the armed man holed up in the home by East Madison Avenue and North 4th Avenue. Firefighters from San Miguel Fire & Rescue and Heartland Fire-Rescue sprayed water from a distance for hours in an attempt to extinguish the fire. They brought in a hook-and-ladder truck, then extended its ladder and, via remote control, sprayed water on the burning garage.

The aforementioned 911 Video News was on location filming and reported that "The SDSO SWAT came to the scene. SWAT moved in as the fire rekindled, and a Robot was sent into the house to look for the male. The Robot found the male deceased inside the house. Firefighters then went in to put out the fire."

On the morning of August 18, just north of the San Diego River by Friars and Napa, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department extinguished a brush fire and discovered "what appeared to be a deceased female on the ground," reads an SDPD report. "Due to the suspicious nature of the fire and the death of the female, detectives from the San Diego Police Homicide Unit and the Metro Arson Strike Team [also] responded to the location and assumed responsibility for the investigation." No updates were posted online.

On August 10, on the 100 block of South Rancho Santa Fe Road, a man set a San Marcos business on fire, which was caught on video.

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Aug. 29 Enchanted Isle.
Aug. 29 Enchanted Isle.

On October 5, someone called the Chula Vista Police Department regarding a burglar alarm on 3rd Avenue and F Street, says 911 Video News on their YouTube video. The police found a fire at the address, and fire department units were deployed. The raw footage, partly titled "Chula Vista: Suspected Arson," depicts three fire engines and at least a dozen fire department personnel assessing the smokey Labor Finders employment agency's office.

"Upon arriving at the scene, just out of the smell of smoke in the air, crews investigated and located an exterior fire in one of the commercial structures behind me," said the Battalion Chief Brendan Barahura in 911's posted clip.

The smokey Labor Finders employment agency's office in Chula Vista.

The firefighters had already put out the fire in the office. Still, it was smoldering, and the smoke from the office was wafting upwards into the second floor's businesses and next door at Brain Balance of Chula Vista. No injuries were reported.

Sponsored
Sponsored

As this article goes to print, there isn't an update on the Wednesday morning "suspected arson."

On the morning of October 1, someone in the Grant Hill neighborhood called the fire department about a house burning on the 2800 block of K Street. The firefighters arrived shortly after 4 am and extinguished the fire within 25 minutes, according to the 911 Video News YouTube page. They added, "Firefighters made their way inside the structure but did not find any victims. Firefighters stated the residence has a history of squatters living inside." Meanwhile, SDPD assisted in evacuating the homes surrounding the now burned-down single-story home. "The Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) is on the scene investigating the cause of the fire."

MAST investigators, who were called in in most of the incidents in this article, are cross-trained to achieve expertise in fire and explosives investigation and police procedure; the fire investigators are peace officers, are armed, and have powers of arrest.

October 1 Grant Hill. "The residence has a history of squatters living inside."

MAST was formed in 1980 in response to a growing arson problem in the city.

Arsons increased from 21,829 incidents in 2020 to 26,491 in 2021 throughout the U.S., according to the National Incident-Based Reporting System Tables. And while no available stats show 2022 numbers, it seems in August, in San Diego, there was a surge of alleged arsons, where two locals died.

On August 29, a man swam to an island called Enchanted Isle near Fiesta Island in Mission Bay and set it on fire, says the SDPD Facebook page. Lifeguards boated in, and while fighting the fire, they saw the alleged arsonist was still on the island and called in SDPD. "Our beach team officers hitched a ride with lifeguards on their boat to arrest the man," said the SDPD. The Metro Arson Strike Team responded and determined the fire was arson, and the fire did not spread outside the island.

According to mainstream news outlets, on August 19, in El Cajon, a 58-year-old man said he would commit suicide by firearm and supposedly set fire to his home's detached garage. The unidentified man's family was evacuated. The fire department had difficulty putting out the fire because of the armed man holed up in the home by East Madison Avenue and North 4th Avenue. Firefighters from San Miguel Fire & Rescue and Heartland Fire-Rescue sprayed water from a distance for hours in an attempt to extinguish the fire. They brought in a hook-and-ladder truck, then extended its ladder and, via remote control, sprayed water on the burning garage.

The aforementioned 911 Video News was on location filming and reported that "The SDSO SWAT came to the scene. SWAT moved in as the fire rekindled, and a Robot was sent into the house to look for the male. The Robot found the male deceased inside the house. Firefighters then went in to put out the fire."

On the morning of August 18, just north of the San Diego River by Friars and Napa, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department extinguished a brush fire and discovered "what appeared to be a deceased female on the ground," reads an SDPD report. "Due to the suspicious nature of the fire and the death of the female, detectives from the San Diego Police Homicide Unit and the Metro Arson Strike Team [also] responded to the location and assumed responsibility for the investigation." No updates were posted online.

On August 10, on the 100 block of South Rancho Santa Fe Road, a man set a San Marcos business on fire, which was caught on video.

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