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Encinitas man charged in arson spree

SAN DIEGO — A 20-year-old Encinitas man is charged with setting three fires last fall at a church youth center, an administration building at a middle school near his home and at a preschool, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Tyler Carender allegedly began his arson spree Oct. 22 by setting fire to the Friendship House Counseling and Youth Center, which is owned and operated by Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Balour Drive.

Firefighters from the Encinitas Fire Department were able to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings. However, the fire engulfed the entire Youth Center, resulting in a loss of about $200,000.

A week later, on Oct. 29, Carender allegedly set fire to the administration building on the campus of Oak Crest Middle School, which is adjacent to his home on Island View Lane and a block from the church complex, according to the indictment.

The fire caused a partial collapse of the ceiling and roof of the structure, which presented a substantial risk to firefighters, who escaped injury battling the blaze, which caused $300,000 in damage, authorities said.

On Nov. 12, the defendant allegedly used a Molotov cocktail to set fire to the preschool building on the Saint Andrew’s campus, according to the indictment. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to an office and damage was estimated at $34,000.

Carender made his first appearance Wednesday before a magistrate judge, who set a July 11 detention hearing.