Five small fires occurred within a 40-minute window on May 19 on The Alameda and adjacent streets in Berkeley.
The first fire, called in at 2 a.m., was located at the intersection of Sutter Street and Yolo Avenue. However, the brush fire of dry foliage was small and already extinguished when the fire department arrived.
Firefighters returned to the Marin Avenue fire station and left again at 2:20 a.m. to respond to a second fire at the intersection of The Alameda and Solano Avenue. On the way to Solano Avenue, the fire department received another notice regarding a third fire on the 800 block of The Alameda and called for additional apparatus, which included two extra engines, an additional fire chief and an ambulance.
En route to the third fire, firefighters coincidentally came upon a fourth fire — also in the 800 block of The Alameda — that had not been called in. The fifth and last fire was called in at 2:40 a.m. on the 700 block of The Alameda.
It’s clear someone deliberately set fire,” said Avery Webb, acting deputy fire chief of Berkeley Fire Department. “They were all relatively small fires without a source of ignition nearby.”
The fires were set off in the dry brush near sidewalks in front of homes. According to Webb, there was no structural involvement in the fires, but further investigation of intentional arson has been directed to Berkeley Police Department. The investigation points to a single suspect traveling down The Alameda on foot.
“The incidents are currently under investigation,” said Officer Jennifer Coats, spokesperson for BPD.
Below is a map pinpointing the locations of the five fires.
View Sutter St & Yolo Ave in a larger map
Contact J. Hannah Lee at [email protected]