Six more fires ignited Sunday night and early Monday morning around downtown San Jose, fueling fears of residents and business owners who have endured dozens of suspected arson fires in the past six months.
Most of the fires along Coyote Creek near Olinder Park have been relatively small, but not all of them, neighbors said.
One at 10 p.m. Sunday lit up the sky and took firefighters a couple of hours to knock down. A large burn scar could be seen under the Interstate 280 overpass, near McLaughlin Avenue.
Homeowner Linda Gil said she could see and feel the heat and smoke.
"The smell is what got me," Gil said. "It just overwhelmed the whole house quickly, and I opened the window thinking my neighbor’s house might be on fire because it was so strong. I looked out and it was just flames and smoke."
The latest fires took place in and around the Roosevelt Park and Naglee Park neighborhoods. Five ignited within a half-hour of each other.
The fires are adding to homeowners’ anxiety.
Crimemapping.com shows before this weekend, there were 36 fires around the downtown San Jose area in the past six months.
Last week, a home security camera caught a man setting fire to a pile of wood and brush in front of a home.
"Could it be arson? Could it be homeless encampments? Could it be sparked by fireworks? Could it be random chance?" said Jeff Levine, vice president of the homeowners association. "And the fear is the danger of the dryness, the lateness of the season, the wind."
"It’s very scary," Gil said. "You don’t know who’s setting these and what the motive is. These homes are all in close proximity of each other, so that’s very worrying, that a structure is going to be next or, heaven forbid, a person."