Firefighters investigating string of suspicious fires in central Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Arson investigators are looking into a string of overnight fires that all sparked within a three-mile radius in Central Fresno.

Crews were called to multiple fires they believe were set intentionally in the same part of town overnight.

Investigators are still working to determine if the incidents are related but believe the fires are related to homelessness.

"When you really look across the spectrum of the amount of hours committed by our fire engines and trucks fighting these homeless-related fires, that takes away our ability to respond to other emergencies," says Shane Brown with Fresno Fire.

The first fire was spotted at the Saint Paul United Methodist Church on Clinton and Thesta around 1 am.

That's where investigators say an arsonist set the wooden door frame on fire.

"Unfortunately, we see this quite often, kind of no rhyme or reason," said Deputy Marshall Jay Tracy.

There were two other similar fires in the same area near or along Fresno Street.

Investigators are now working to determine if all three are related.

The Amigo Mini Market on Orange near Butler was also set ablaze just as the sun was coming up.

Investigators do not believe this incident is related to the others but the fire does speak to a growing concern for crews across the city.

"To date, the estimated dollar loss because of fires is in the $11 million range and the fires that are related to the homeless activity is estimated to be around $2 million," said Brown.
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