Dozens of suspicious fires set in the East Bay have investigators afraid that it’s only a matter of time before some of the homes nearby go up in flames.
The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District's Fire Investigation Unit said on Facebook that they are currently examining around 33 blazes that sparked in Pleasanton and pockmarked Concord's Iron Horse Trail.
The most recent one was set Tuesday night.
Ron Johnsen said his backyard lit up around dusk Tuesday.
"It was just woosh,'" he said. "I thought, 'Holy christ, it’s a fire.'"
Johnsen said the flames were coming from the trail, which runs between Concord and Dublin and is a frequent haunt for walkers, runners and bicyclists.
He speculated that the arsonist maybe sprayed "some lighter fluid or something", "lit" it and "then took off running."
In July, flames shot up a tree and hoevered dangerously close to electrical poles.
Johnsen insisted that the fires have been "intentionally set." But Captain George Laing with the county's Fire Protection District said only that the fires are believed to be arson. So far noone has been hurt, but Laing is worried that could change.
"I can’t speculate on the motivation," he said. "We just know we want it to stop."
So does Johnsen, who is even now afraid to venture far from his house.
"It scares me about my house burning or something," he said. "My wife has [Multiple Sclerosis]. She can’t walk."
Specific details about the fires and a potential suspect are unavailable at this time, according to authorities, who asked people who live along the trail to remove any flammable fuel from their properties.
People with information are asked to call the Fire Investigation Unit at 925-942-9140, the arson tip line at 1-866-502-7766 or report it to the police.
NBC Bay Area's Brendan Weber contributed to this report.