Fresno firefighters searching for group of young schoolboy arsonists

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno firefighters are hoping surveillance video can help them identify some young firestarters.

Four fires have been set at Slater Elementary in northwest Fresno.

Investigators say according to the video, the suspects appear to be younger than high school age.

The fires are being set in the evening. In one incident the suspects waited near the scene to watch the fire get put out.

The main quad area of Slater Elementary School is ground zero for the group of young boys who meandered through campus before striking a flame.

Arson investigators say on three different days, the group or three and four boys targeted trash cans.

One suspect was seen hitting the ground when a car passes.

But the group didn't appear to be in a rush to leave. Cameras were rolling as they danced, took selfies and hung out. They left once the fire was more established but before firefighters arrived.

However, investigators say after one of the fires, the curious suspects didn't go far.

"There is one report that after one of the fires as the suppression guys were showing up, they took off to a residence nearby and sat and watched the suppression efforts of the firefighters," says Jay Tracy from the Fresno Fire Department.

The videos - that don't clearly show the youthful faces- recorded several minutes of every incident on campus. Slater was one school in Fresno Unified that was equipped with cameras. By the end of September, every single elementary, junior high and high school should have working camera systems.

"We're not here to go ahead and play big brother but we are here to make sure that we provide a safe environment for our staff and students within the district. Even after hours," says Armand Chavez of the Fresno Unified School District.

Investigators are hoping someone knows who the suspects are. They say while it isn't the crime of the century- the are concerned about it escalating.

Firefighters need your help to identify and track down these students. They believe they do live in the area. If you know who they are please call the Fresno Fire Department.
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.