Four Vehicles and Structure Fire Determined To Be Arson
On Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 1:31 p.m., the Visalia Fire Department responded to a report of a vehicle fire in a carport threatening an apartment complex.
"The first unit arrived and quickly knocked down the vehicle fire which was 50% involved and stopped it from threatening the apartments," said Darrin Hughes, Visalia Fire Department Battalion Chief. "At approximately 2:30 p.m. additional units were dispatched to another vehicle fire threatening a residence on 2nd Avenue."
The first unit arrived and reported that a vehicle was smoking with no fire, so the remainder of the first alarm assignment was cancelled. During the extinguishment of the vehicle fire, a nearby neighbor reported that their car was on fire near their gas tank pipe, but that they had extinguished it themselves.
"All three of these fires were considered attempted arson," added Hughes.
While fire personnel were on scene at these two situations, taking down information,a fourth vehicle was intentionally set on fire nearby on Pearl Street. Engine 54 and Battalion 58 quickly responded, and with the help of bystanders, contained the fire to the backseat of the vehicle.
As suspect information was being gathered at this vehicle fire, another column of smoke was observed coming from North Encina Street.
This fire was located near the back of a residence on Encina Street with one resident inside, unaware that a fire had been set. She was removed from the house and the fire was quickly contained to an exterior supply closet and interior laundry room.
Visalia Police searched the surrounding neighborhood for a possible suspect with a vague description given to them by neighbors of the fire victims. Police personnel were unable to locate any suspect(s) related to these fires.
Fortunately, there were no injuries to civilians or firefighters during these incidents.
The total value of the four vehicles was approximately $24,000 with an approximate property loss of $2,600. The property value of the house that was saved was approximately $250,000 with an estimated property loss of $10,000 and $1000 to some of its contents.
If there is any information that citizens may have concerning these arson incidents please contact the Visalia Fire Department at 559-713-4266 or the Visalia Police Department at 559-713-8117.