LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) — Police are on the hunt for a man who they say set a La Jolla home on fire before pointing a gun at construction crews.
Friday morning, Teresa Zlokarnik woke up to an odd smell coming from across the street.
“I don’t know where it was coming from, but I saw smoke, and I saw the firemen going into the house,” Zlokarnik said.
For the last few months, she saw the home on the other side of the street go from rubble to almost done. But not anymore. At 9:45 a.m., San Diego Fire Rescue responded to an attic fire, set intentionally.
“What? An arson? That’s scary. Oh my God,” Zlokarnik said.
The homeowner, who asked not to be identified, claimed he knows who did it.
“He didn’t show up for three days, and I fired him,” the homeowner said.
The homeowner said he believes the suspected arsonist is a disgruntled former employee who was hired to work on the sheet rock. But when the man came to the site Friday morning and saw his replacements at work, he set the attic on fire.
In his 40 years of renovating homes, the homeowner said he has never seen this kind of reaction from an employee, current or former.
“He said, ‘My price is my price and if not, you are going to hear from me!’ So I heard from him this way,” the man said.
He added that the new subcontractors were held at gunpoint. They waited until the suspect left to call 911.
The home on Palomino Circle was supposed to be on the market July 1, 2019, for $1.9 million. But after what happened today, the homeowner said that an open house would have to be pushed back.
“Our heater is gone, the electricity is gone, the plumbing is probably damaged,” he said.
The homeowner and his company are now playing catch-up. As for Zlokarnik, her sense of security in her neighborhood is now shattered.
“Oh my God, he’s out on the loose? God, I am scared. I am locking my doors,” Zlokarnik said.
San Diego Police have not caught the suspected arsonist.