San Jose

Rash of Suspected Arson Fires Has Downtown San Jose Residents on Edge

A rash of apparent arson fires has some San Jose neighborhood groups around the downtown area scared and upset.

Video obtained by NBC Bay Area shows some recent incidents, including one in which someone brazenly sets a fire in front of a home near Japantown. In the video a man is seen getting off a bicycle and setting a pile of wood and brush on fire. Those images and the man's actions have neighbors rattled.

"My concern is it was just a brush pile that was on fire, but it could’ve been a house, a church, and that’s what I’m really afraid of," resident Kelvin Kamachi said.

The fire department's quick response kept the flames from spreading.

A map from shows about 36 fires being set around the downtown San Jose district. One business owner said he’s fed up.

"Right here in the neighborhood where we’re standing, there have been three recent incidents, two just last night and another about three weeks ago," David Vieira said.

Vieira's security cameras recorded a possible vandal who he believes is responsible for the fires. He said city officials gave him advice: Catch the guy in the act.

"Today, we were out here cutting back these trees so that my tenant here, his cameras here, can hopefully catch the subject playing with fire," Vieira said.

Kamachi said he would like more preventative action.

"I would like to see more police coming around, especially after midnight," he said.

Both Vieira and Kamachi plan to raise their concerns with their neighborhood associations.

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