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Ocean Beach residents voice frustrations to police over arson spree

SAN DIEGO – People attending a town hall meeting Tuesday got fired up over a string of arson in Ocean Beach.

Eight fires have been intentionally set since December and more than $100,000 worth of damage has been caused, according to the San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team. Fires have damaged multiple vehicles, a fence, tree and a home. The most recent fire was set to a mattress in the alley of the 2100 block of Ebers Street.

Over 50 people attended the two-hour meeting, which started at 6 p.m. at the Masonic Center on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

One man voiced his frustration after a San Diego police representative told people "if you see something, say something."

“You say call, why? It took me over an hour for one of your people to answer my phone, over an hour,” the upset resident said.

As of Tuesday, it was still unclear who or how many people could be involved.

Allen Baker is the most recent victim of the fires. No one has been injured in the arson series, but Baker is concerned that residents are at risk of being injured if the fires continue.

“Someone could get hurt seriously by this. It’s more than vandalism I mean if a little kid dies or an old lady dies,” said Baker.

“The burned mattress was left in the alley, too. It’s still there,” said Baker, who says he doesn’t know who the mattress belonged to. He’s shocked the fire department and police left it behind.

San Diego police say with no video or pictures of the arsonist it will likely be a break from someone in the community to help solve this ongoing crime. They are asking OB residents to be the eyes and ears for each other and to be vigilant.

“Clean up their back allies, secure back gates, trash bins, lock up bicycles,” said SDPD Officer David Surwilo.

Some residents also agreed that now is the time to come together and help each other.

“I have two sets of hoses and all my hoses will reach two houses down because I’m watching for my neighbors. So watch for your neighbors watch what is burnable around your house,” one resident said.

A $1,000 reward is being offered by Crime Stoppers for the arrest and conviction of the arsonist.