Convicted arsonist arrested for starting six Tulare County fires since April

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Cal Fire investigators arrested suspected serial arsonist Philip Scruggs outside a Porterville Save Mart last week. (KFSN)

South Valley fire and law enforcement agencies announced a major arrest this week. Cal Fire investigators arrested suspected serial arsonist Philip Scruggs outside a Porterville Save Mart last week.

The Bakersfield man is charged with starting six fires in the South Valley over a three month period, including one that severely damaged the old Lake Express Market and Gas Station off Highway 190 near Porterville-- that was on July 6th.

"It's a situation where you're putting everybody at risk when somebody is causing fires," said Tulare County Assistant District Attorney David Alavezos.

Scruggs is also accused of starting a fire on Worth Drive on June 8th and the Globe Fire in Springville on July 5th, which burned 21 acres. Prosecutors said he intentionally set his last fire off Morton Avenue last week.

Scruggs is no stranger to arson charges; in 2000, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for acts of arson in Kern County-- he served 10 years.

"In this case, he's been charged with six violent felonies and he has four priors so he's looking at a potential of 25 to life on each felony," Alavezos said.

Scruggs is being held on $250,000 bail and his next court date is scheduled for July 28th in Porterville.

To protect lives and property, Cal Fire officials are asking the public to report any possible arsonists.

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arsonarresttulare countyPorterville
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