Homeless people catch, tie up Fresno arson suspect

Firefighters say it was homeless people in the area who caught the suspect, and they actually tied her up while waiting for officers to arrive.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A woman is under arrest after investigators say she started a fire and tried to run away. But she didn't get far.

The fire on Sunday destroyed a vacant home near Ventura and F streets in Fresno. Firefighters say it was out of control when they got there, and since there was no one inside, they chose to let it burn down.

Fresno firefighters say the third time this vacant home was set on fire, they didn't save it. But they did finally make an arrest, thanks to the help of several bystanders who investigators say refused to let the suspect run away without taking any heat.

"We had a lot of homeless people who were witnesses that state that there was a lady who was inside the structure, and multiple witnesses stated that they saw her light the fire," said Pete Martinez of the Fresno Fire Department.

Kristina Broderick has a black eye and other injuries from the citizen's arrest. Officers say they don't know exactly what motivated the witnesses to chase after her.

"We don't know whether or not they were tackling her as a result of her burning down what they feel was their home, or whether or not they knew that this fire was a risk to firefighters," said Martinez.

PHOTOS: Fire Rips through Downtown Fresno home

On Sunday, firefighters used a "surround and drown" tactic to preserve homes around the burning one. Francis Burris and his wife own the home. They boarded up the home after the first fire, but the diligent squatters always managed to get back in.

"My wife and I was over there and we caught a few people, just a few. And after that, maybe about a week later, there would be a few more people," said Burris.

Recently, Burris said the arson suspect confronted him and told him the measure she would take if necessary.

"If she couldn't get her dope, she would burn the house down, and I guess she kept her promise and she burned the house down," said Burris.

One homeless man told Action News he lost everything he had in the fire. The true homeowners say after the latest fire, they do not plan to rebuild.

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