Arrest made in Pinedale arson fires

FRESNO, Calif.

Detectives say they used surveillance video and tips from witnesses to nab the suspect. But it's the suspect's close ties to the community that has many people baffled.

The string of arson fires that plagued the Pinedale community, in early April, left many in the neighborhood on the lookout. One of those fires was intentionally set across the street from where Hope Olivares resides. The vacant home that was burned down is just a shell.

Hope recalls the night of the fire. "I came out and the house was in bunch of flames, fire everywhere. And I was scared that it was going to start the other house next door."

More than a month passed, and there was still no word of an arrest -- that is until Thursday. "It's our pleasure to announce the arrest of the serial arsonist that has been plaguing the Pinedale section of our community," announced Don MacAlpine, Deputy Fire Marshall.

Fire investigators say they nabbed the primary suspect, 23-year-old Jeremy Chacon -- linking him to 9 fires in the area.

"Anybody who is going to start a fire intentionally, roughly with malice in mind, is a danger and needs to be reckoned with appropriately," said MacAlpine.

On Wednesday, investigators with the multi-agency gang enforcement consortium served a search warrant at the suspect's Pinedale home -- just half a mile from one of the fires. Investigators say Chacon is responsible for a cluster of fires set inside dumpsters and at vacant properties.

While no one was injured, detectives are still trying to determine a motive.

News of the arrest has this community a bit more at ease. "I think a lot of people are going to be relieved. Because it is scary to see a home go up in flames," said Olivares.

Investigators say the suspect could face 17 to 39 years in prison if convicted.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.