FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --More than a dozen arsonists have been arrested following one of the worst times for serial arson cases in Fresno history. These arrests have come over the past few weeks. One was made Thursday for a fire that investigators say could have been catastrophic.
For weeks, firefighters seemed to rush from one fire to another. And many of these were incredibly dangerous, like the fire at an abandoned warehouse near G and Fresno streets.
Thursday, Fresno police arrested 53-year-old James Moore. He's the 17th arson suspect to be arrested since May. Fire investigators say two weeks ago he set fire to a pile of cardboard outside the Neighborhood Thrift Store in Fresno's Tower District.
The store was busy at the time, but workers bravely rushed to slow the fire until help arrived. "Fortunately, it was very quickly and they were able to put it out before too much damage, otherwise it clearly would have gone into the building," said Fresno Fire Department Investigator Don MacAlpine.
Since May, fire crews have been stretched thinner than usual. Spot fires kept popping up at old businesses, right along freeways and even one targeting a Fresno police cruiser.
Investigators say one big reason the 17 suspects are locked up now is because of help from the public. "We started having much more success with good credible witnesses with great information that went a long way to helping us identify the appropriate people," MacAlpine said.
Firefighters are glad there weren't any major injuries or deaths from those arson fires. As for Moore, investigators believe he is connected to other fires.