Reporting Nick Janes
GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – Four suspected arson fires set within two hours of each other caused more than $100,000 in damages in downtown Grass Valley overnight.
All four fires were set blocks apart between Neal Street and S. Auburn Street.
“Just hoodlums making trouble,” neighbor Brent Blackwell said.
The fires sparked disappointment and disgust among residents.
“There are so many people that need help during the summer, so use your energy to do that instead of stupid, really stupid, disgusting things,” Pamela Calderon said.
She’s furious after hearing of four suspected arson fires set downtown in a 90-minute span. Cops want the culprit caught before someone gets hurt.
“We’re curious as to what would prompt an individual to set that many fires in the downtown area on a Sunday evening,” Grass Valley Police Capt. Rex Marks said. “They’re all in a four-block circle.”
The first fire call came in at 11:30 to a medical/dental office on S. Auburn. Firefighters say when they got out there, the building was fully engulfed in flames. By the time they had it out, it had caused $60,000 in damage.
“Yeah, you know, what a shame,” Calderon said. “What are people thinking?”
Just next door from the first suspected arson, embers spread and caught a home’s roof on fire. Investigators estimate $50,000 in damage was done there.
“I originally heard that this was the first house for the first mayor of the city of Grass Valley,” Blackwell said.
A little less than an hour later, the second fire call came in to an abandoned, city-owned building on Neal. Police were able to put the flames out with a fire extinguisher.
At 12:50 a.m., debris was spotted burning on top of the AC unit next to the library.
Moments later, police say someone tried setting a fire at the building next door to the dental office where the suspected arson spree started.
Each case has the same M.O. – garbage was set on fire next to the buildings – leading cops to believe they’re dealing with a serial arsonist.
Nobody is in custody and police do not have a description of any potential suspects. They did say Monday night had been quiet.