San Jose investigators believe cluster of blazes near school are connected
SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose firefighters were busy overnight and into the morning on Friday as they investigated two blazes around the city and several instances of possible arson at a school.
"These are a lot of the same fire units that have been going to these fires. They’re tired but they’re still going and we’re very proud of them," said Fire Capt. Brian Palodichuk.
At about 6a.m. Friday, crews responded to a one alarm fire at Alpha Cornerstone Academy in the 1500 block of Lucretia Avenue. Investigators say this fire started outside the main office, and was knocked down quickly. But substantial damage was done to the school’s main office.
"Our main issue is our wifi, and making sure teachers have access to wifi today. So we’ve called our tech people and smfd has called their tech people. And they’re gonna get together and figure that out," said Marion Dickel, the school’s principal.
Firefighters said there were actually at least three smaller fires near the school overnight. The arson investigator said they’re linked. And fire officials said one person of interest has been detained.
"This person of interest was also hampering firefighting abilities when the first engine company arrived on scene. So that’s what made them a person of interest," said Palodichuk.
Officials at Cornerstone Academy said the morning fire will not impact student’s learning during the day.
There were two other unrelated fires that crews were dealing with.
Around 1:50a.m., the second major fire of was a two-alarm blaze burned the home at 569 Park Johnson Place. Responding firefighters said it spread to the neighboring house at 573 Park Johnson Place.
One homeowner doused the flames with water but was unable to extinguish the fire.
"We were asleep and we heard a noise… grabbed a pale and tried to fight the fire," said a man identified only as Jerry.
And then finally, there was a large fire that broke out about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 200 block of Eastside Drive in East San Jose.
This three-alarm fire severely damaged a home, and the three in-law units that also went up in flames.
A total of five residents have been displaced due to these fires.
The Red Cross is assisting all affected victims.