Firefighters Battle Two-Alarm Fire in San Jose, Thought to be Serial Arsonist

Fire officials said neighbors helped the elderly couple escape the suspected arson fire, as the search for a suspect continues.

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Good Samaritans helped an elderly couple safely escape a 2-alarm house fire that fire officials believe was set by a serial arsonist who has targeted homes in downtown San Jose this week.

    Good Samaritans helped an elderly couple safely escape a 2-alarm house fire that fire officials believe was set by a serial arsonist who has targeted homes in downtown San Jose this week.

    Around 4:20 a.m., a man who was out for a run spotted fire coming from a home near the intersection of East St. John and 17th Streets, San Jose fire Capt. Barry Ehlers said.

    The man ran to the home and pounded on the door but getting no answer, knocked on the doors of neighboring homes to alert neighbors, Ehlers said.

    RAW VIDEO: SJFD Press Conference on Recent String of House Fires

    [BAY] RAW VIDEO: SJFD Press Conference on Recent String of House Fires
    The San Jose Fire Department released a sketch of a person of interest they think might be behind the recent string of house fires in downtown San Jose. The Fire Dept. is also offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible. Here is raw video of Saturday's press conference.

    Still not getting any responses, the man ran to the fire station located about a block away, where he awoke firefighters and reported the blaze.

    Fire crews quickly arrived on the scene to find the one-story Victorian home partially engulfed in flames, Ehlers said.

    Arson Team Investigates 4 "Intentionally Set" San Jose Fires

    [BAY] Arson Team Investigates 4 "Intentionally Set" San Jose Fires
    An arson team and San Jose police are looking into how four new fires were set on Friday morning all within an hour and a five-or-so block radius. San Jose Fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort said the fires are "highly suspicious in origin" and "highly concerning." Peggy Bunker reports

    By that time a father and son living next to the home had managed to awaken the couple and help them evacuate, the captain said.

    "You had Good Samaritans...and luckily no one got injured," Ehlers said.

    Firefighters also found the couple's pet cat inside the home and brought it outside to safety, he said.

    Crews attacked the blaze for nearly two hours before declaring it under control.

    RELATED: One Dead After Fire Rips Through Walnut Creek Home

    The firefight was made even tougher due to the home's roof collapsing around 4:35 a.m., according to Ehlers.

    He said the fire appears to have started near the house's rear porch area and quickly spread to its roof.

    The blaze displaced the elderly couple, who are receiving housing assistance from the American Red Cross.

    Ehlers estimated the fire caused at least $200,000 in damage to the century-old home.

    He said that while the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, fire investigators "highly suspect" that the same person or people who set 10 other arson fires in the surrounding area over the past few days is the culprit.

    This morning's fire was the 11th suspicious fire set within a roughly 2-mile area in downtown San Jose since Wednesday, according to fire officials.

    The San Jose Firefighters Local 230 union is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect behind the arson fires.

    RELATED: Two Found Dead in Palo Alto House Fire

    A noon news conference will be held at the fire station at 802 East Santa Clara Street to announce the award and release more details about the recent arson fires meant to help identify a suspect.

    The San Jose Fire Dept. tweeted this photo of Saturday morning's house fire: