Arsons Have Fresno Area Residents on Edge

April 8, 2013
A vacant house and trash containers were set on fire last week.

April 08--Residents in a Pinedale neighborhood of Fresno where more than 15 arson fires were set last week said Sunday they hope whoever is responsible is caught before someone is hurt or even killed.

The fires included 12 involving plastic trash containers and an abandoned house at Beechwood and Maroa avenues that sustained major damage.

Resident Jay Cordero, 43, suspects teenagers are behind the fires and worries about someone dying, if the arsons continue.

"What if an older person is inside a house and can't get out?" Cordero said. "Things you can replace. You can't replace someone's life."

He also is concerned about the fires spreading to other homes, especially from houses that have tall weeds.

Cordero and others in the neighborhood said they are pulling their trash containers back onto their property from the road after they are dumped to make them less likely fire targets.

Resident Monique Barrera, 19, said the culprits might assume setting fire to trash containers and a vacant home is "not a big deal."

"It's probably kids thinking nothing's going to happen, but someone's home could burn," she said.

Gerardo Coronado, 38, who has lived in the neighborhood for six years, said the recent arson fires is uncharacteristic for the area.

"The craziness is this is the first time I've heard about something like this happening," he said.

On Tuesday, crews responded to five separate calls and discovered 12 arson fires involving plastic trash containers set on fire in the area. On Friday, firefighters responded to five arson fires, including one at the abandoned house. Crews also put out a large trash bin fire next to a business near Herndon and College avenues.

Anyone with information on a possible suspect is asked to call the Fresno Fire Department at (559) 621-4199.

Resident Anthony Estrada, 30, said he's concerned that someone's vehicle could catch fire from a lit trash container and then flames or ashes could jump to a home and endanger people.

"We just want to keep our families safe," he said.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386 or [email protected].

Copyright 2013 - The Fresno Bee

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