Normal Heights blaze raises arson questions

Posted at 7:14 PM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 09:22:23-04

SAN DIEGO -- A small fire in Normal Heights is sparking big concerns and questions.

In an alley near Adams Avenue and Bancroft Street, a flurry of activity around 11:30 p.m. Monday made Robert Lofgren anxious.

A small fire in some dead leaves was quickly put out by fire crews, but it could have turned into a big problem.

"It could have ignited this 50-foot stretch and all the greenery on this fence. There are home and apartments nearby," said Lofgren.

Investigators have deemed it arson, and it's something Lofgren has seen before.

Lofgren told 10News about another recent fire a few feet away in which a wooden lattice burned and a pile of leaves led to 15-foot flames.

One week later, and again a few feet away, there was another fire.

"Also debris; there was accelerant, paint or something," said Lofgren.

He added, "It makes me nervous. It makes everyone nervous. We had a safe neighborhood and now we don't."

10News passed on the information on the previous fires to arson investigators.

The big question now: Is the Normal Heights fire tied to a string of recent fires in Hillcrest?

On Monday morning, there were eight different fires in Hillcrest. The firebug torched Dumpsters, trash cans and a shed.

Investigators say they're looking into a possible connection, but haven't found anything definitive.

A potential link is something Lofgren doesn't want to think about.

"It's worrisome because it shows a commitment to mayhem," said Lofgren.

Fire investigators have yet to link all the Hillcrest fires, but they were all reported within an hour of each other.