Jan. 10--SAN JOSE -- With three suspicious fires set overnight, fire officials are concerned an arsonist is at work.
The San Jose Fire Department responded Friday morning to three fires in a span of 45 minutes around the neighborhood of 24th and San Antonio streets, according to Capt. Mike Van Elgort. Since Wednesday, firefighters have responded to seven blazes in the same neighborhood, about a 5-mile radius.
Martha Yanez, whose home on 28th and San Antonio, said at 3:45 am, she and her husband woke up to a man outside screaming "your house is on fire."
"We jumped off the bed and looked out the window," Yanez said.
The couple ran outside and began throwing water on the flames, Yanez said. She then ran inside the home and got her 11-year-old son to come help.
Yanez said they extinguished the fire quickly, before firefighters arrived.
"We turned it off and we're all OK but my children are scared,". Yanez said.
The fire burned just below the bedroom of one of her children. Friday morning she felt "nervous and scared, wondering why and who is doing it."
The string of fires Friday morning comes on the heels of a massive five-alarm blaze that destroyed a large warehouse on East Julian Street a few blocks west of Highway 101. The warehouse is located about a mile away from the string of suspicious fires, but firefighters do not believe they are connected.
Wednesday, firefighters responded to the first fire at 24th and San Antonio streets at about 3:31 a.m. The second fire was reported at Peach Court, and the third at 28th and San Antonio streets. Because the fires are being considered suspicious and under investigation, the fire department is releasing limited information.
"We are actively investigating the area," Van Elgort said. "We have fire cause investigators and SJPD working together, scouring the area, interviewing occupants, and best we can, determine if these are suspicious, and if they are, catch the suspect."
Firefighters are concerned because each fire was set outside and in close proximity to a home or structure.
None of the blazes Friday caused significant damage to the homes, Van Elgort said.
"We are actively pursuing the evidence we have and we are on the trail," Van Elgort said. "Clearly these fires are suspicious. It is very scary, from the perspective that this person has no regard" for the citizens of San Jose.
"They are putting them at risk."
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