Posted: 6:52 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

Investigators believe serial arsonist targeting homes in Vallejo

Vallejo house targeted by arson
Vallejo house targeted by arson

VALLEJO, Calif. —

An empty home that caught fire Monday night was the latest spot to draw the attention of arson investigators in Vallejo, who are looking into the possibility of a serial arsonist targeting the area.

Three suspicious fires last week were all within a half mile of each other and the vacant house that was set afire Monday night is also nearby the other torched properties. And because all of the fires showed signs that were they were started on purpose and in similar ways, investigators said they suspected a serial arsonist..

When Deborah Rodrigues walked KTVU reporters through the blackened basement of her home Tuesday afternoon, she said she felt anger and more.

“Disbelief. Absolute disbelief that this could happen,” said Rodrigues.

Deborah rents out the house but no one was living here last night, when the fire occurred.

Fire investigators said they quickly determined the blaze was started downstairs.

 “The fire last night appears to be incendiary and we believe it to be arson at this point,” said Chief Paige Meyer of the Vallejo Fire Dept.

Vallejo has had several arson fires in recent days.

Last Thursday, and just a few blocks away, the Village Nightclub was set afire and gutted.

The owner, Raul Salaices, was struggling to reopen Tuesday.

“Hopefully they catch him soon,” said Salaices on Tuesday. “I don't want anyone out of a business or out of a home because of this gentleman, who decided to excite himself with a fire.”

The bar was one of three properties involved in suspicious fires last week all within a 12-hour timespan and all close to one another.

 “At this point there are some similarities that look consistent with some of the other fires we've had,” said Lt. Jim O'Connell of the Vallejo Police Dept.

O’Connell said that Vallejo police were investigating whether there was a link in the search for one arsonist, maybe more.

“It’s dangerous. We've been very fortunate that no one has been hurt,” said O’Connell. “I want to capitalize on that good fortune and stop it before something worse happens.”

An arson suspect was arrested last week in connection to multiple fires, including one that damaged the office of the city's mayor. But these latest fires were believed to be the work of someone else who was still on the loose Tuesday.

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