San Jose Serial Arsonist Leaves Elderly Couple Homeless | NBC Bay Area

San Jose Serial Arsonist Leaves Elderly Couple Homeless



    (Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014)

    Investigators continue searching for clues in the 13 arsons that have terrorized a neighborhood just east of downtown San Jose.

    Firefighters on Wednesday returned to one scene -- the home of an elderly couple who lost everything -- to "tie up some loose ends."

    The serial arsonist hasn't struck in three days. Investigators said the arsonist is starting fires on people's porches and torching things like newspapers and furniture.

    One of the victims of that suspect, the La Vigna family, lost their home of 45 years after an arsonist set it on fire and destroyed the residence.

    San Jose Firefighters Hunt Serial Arsonist; $10,000 Reward

    [BAY] San Jose Firefighters Hunt Serial Arsonist; $10,000 Reward
    A new fire Monday morning near Alum Rock Park ignited fresh fears that a serial arsonist is still setting blazes across San Jose, with roughly a dozen reported in the last six days. Damian Trujillo reports.
    (Published Monday, Jan. 13, 2014)

    MORE: Serial Arsonist Sparks Concerns About SJFD Staffing

    "Basically take it one day at a time," said Sharon La Vigna, who discussed moving forward after losing her home. "We got out of there with the clothes on our back, and our lives. That's pretty much what we ended up with."

    A neighbor woke up the elderly couple just before the roof collapsed.

    Serial Arsonist Sparks Concerns About Fire Department Staffing

    [BAY] Serial Arsonist Sparks Concerns About Fire Department Staffing
    The search for the San Jose serial arsonist is rekindling worries about staffing levels in the fire department. Damian Trujillo reports.
    (Published Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014)

    "It's still very unsettling," Sharon said. "We don't know where we're going to go."

    Rebuilding the home could be a much tougher proposition for the La Vigna family. They said their insurance company recently switched their premium from a monthly bill to an annual one -- a switch the La Vignas couldn't afford on their limited, fixed income.

    So the insurance company canceled their policy.

    "I'm lucky and fortunate I still have my parents even though their house is gone," said James La Vigna, Sharon's son.

    MORE: SJFD Release Sketch of Serial Arson Suspect; $10,000 Reward

    James is now trying to raise funds for the family through friends and online donations. But his parents said, despite the loss, they can't find room to hate the person who destroyed their home.

    "Obviously he has emotional and mental issues," Sharon said. "And you can't hate someone who's mentally ill."

    While the La Vignas have no ill will toward the arsonist, they hope he has lit his last fire.

    "He needs to turn himself in and get some help because he could have really killed my parents," James said.

    Donations to the La Vigna family can be made here.

    UPDATE: Suspected Serial Arsonist in Custody on $1M Bail