San Benito Residents Experience Three Suspicious House Fires

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POSTED: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 4:55pm

UPDATED: Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 7:59am

SAN BENITO - Three early morning house fires occurred in San Benito today. All three fires happened within a four hour time frame of one another. The first fire started just after 3 a.m. in the Rancho Grande subdivision of San Benito.

“They are all suspicious in nature at this time and are under investigation,” says County Arson Investigator Charles Hoskins. “We haven't made any conclusions.”

The string of fires occurred at three different vacant locations and has some neighborhood members concerned.

“I am worried because it could have been our house,” says Cynthia Rodriguez. “It is right behind ours and a lot of us here have kids. The good thing was that nobody was home at the time of the fire.”

Rodriguez witnessed the third fire at her home near Calle Rancho Grande East. She believes the fire was no accident and saw a man flee the scene before fire fighters arrived.

“He was taking things. I saw him running to the driver's side and to the passenger's side but he was actually taking his time,” says Rodriguez.

She notified fire officials as soon as the house went up in smoke.

“I was telling them that the man was still there and he was tying up things to his truck so if you hurry up you can catch him.”

No arrests have been made but Rodriguez and other witnesses have shared their accounts of the incident with investigators. According to Hoskins, there were no witnesses to the first two fires. However, Rodriguez’s first-hand account could prove vital in moving the investigation forward.

“I really didn't get to see because it was still kind of dark, but when he turned to the street it looked like a maroon truck,” says Rodriguez.

Hoskins says the case will remain under investigation until further notice.

“There is a lot more work to be done at all three locations and the one who will make the final determination will be the fire marshal.”

No injuries were reported at any of the locations. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the string of fires are related in any way.
 

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