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Redlands Fire Department Looking for Arsonists

Redlands Daily Facts

May 26, 2011

REDLANDS, Calif. — The Fire Department is investigating two separate arson cases and is reaching out to the public for help.

Investigators are hoping someone will come forward with information that could help solve two unrelated series of fires, one in the area of Post Street in north Redlands, and one at an apartment complex on Barton Road.

“Someone may have seen something suspicious but not have even known there was a fire, so we want to get the word out,” said Fire Battalion Chief David Graves.

One of the investigations relates to fires on the 1100 blocks of Tribune and Post streets.

Redlands firefighters responded to a fire just after midnight May 7 behind a residence on the 1100 block of Tribune Street, and within 10 minutes after extinguishing it and leaving the scene, they received a second call to the same location, according to the department. Both fires briefly threatened a structure in the location, but damage was limited to trash outside and no one was injured.

On May 19, there was another fire, damaging a water heater at an apartment on the 1100 block of Post Street.

“Investigators determined that arson was the cause of all three fires and believe all three are related,” the department said in a news release.

On May 20, with assistance from the Redlands Police Department, the RFD served a search warrant at an apartment in the 1100 block of Post Street as part of that investigation.

Graves said

the Fire Department is tasked with investigating and prosecuting all arson cases and has the authority to make arrests in those cases, but likes to have RPD assistance when serving search warrants or when there is a possibility of arrest.

Following last week’s search warrant service, arson investigators located evidence connected to the fires in the area, but a suspect has yet to be identified, the department said.

The other series of fires being investigated occurred at an apartment complex at 1400 Barton Road. The first occurred in a trash can in a men’s bathroom at the apartment’s club house and was reported April 13, the city said. A second fire was set to a toilet paper roll in the same area May 12.

Both caused minor damage.

On May 22, a third fire was set in the fitness center at the club house, causing an estimated $15,000 in damage.

Like the fires in north Redlands, arson is the suspected cause of those set to the apartment on Barton Road, Graves said.

Graves said investigators are encouraging anyone with information that could help them determine who caused the fires is asked to come forward. The department lost its full-time arson investigator in the past year’s budget cuts, so members of the department investigate when they can.

In the past year, RFD investigated about 35 arson cases, Graves said.

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