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City Heights residents demand arrest in arson series

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SAN DIEGO - The hunt to find an arsonist responsible for at least a dozen fires in City Heights since the beginning of March is on.

The latest fire was early Sunday morning at Wightman and 53rd streets when a trailer parked in a car port was set on fire, investigators said. Sadie Brueggman's bedroom is above the trailer and had fallen asleep in the living room that night.

"Makes you feel scared,” said Brueggman.  “I’m so worried about other people at other houses."

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department investigators said at least 12 fires are linked by proximity and in most cases trash and debris burned. Unfortunately, gardener Gnoc Luu fell victim to the arson when his truck was burned.

“We’re all worried about the people in this neighborhood,” said Carlos Orta, who lives in the complex and was also evacuated. He said whoever is setting the fires is now endangering lives. “This guy is getting more brazen. It started off with just a couple of trashcans, now it’s gone into a couple of trucks it’s gone onto more and more."

“Arson investigators have made this a priority,” said SDFRD Captain Joe Amador, adding that investigators might not always be on scene, but it doesn’t mean they’re not working.

“One of the things they are looking at is previous history with arsonists in the area,” said Capt. Amador. “There’s forensics there’s investigation, retrieval things are happening behind the scenes.”

Three people were arrested in connection with at least 16 different arson fires in City Heights from another series that broke out in September. Investigators said it’s only a matter of time before the next arrest.

“We’re going to catch you, you need to stop these, before somebody gets hurt,” said Amador.

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