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Man suspected of torching parents’ home

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- Police were searching Friday for a man suspected of setting his parent’s house on fire.

Battalion 2104 Chief Felipe Rodriguez said arson investigators are looking for 31-year-old Ryan Michael McDowell.

McDowell was spotted driving away from 1715 Shire Avenue just as flames began taking over the home in a 2003 tan Chevy pickup truck.

This is not the first time McDowell is accused of burning down the home.

There are several criminal cases and one civil case against McDowell dating back to 2008, when Chief Rodriguez said he torched the home for the first time.

The fire in the 1700 block of Shire Avenue was reported at 9:11 a.m., according to a dispatcher with the North County Fire Protection District.

A neighbor said their neighborhood is normally very quiet, but neighbors were aware of McDowell’s past and are thinking about his parents.

“This is the most excitement we've had, unfortunately this kind of excitement, since the 2007 fires. It is a very quiet neighborhood, we rarely have fire and police here,”  Robert Fichtelman said.

By 11:05 a.m., the flames were knocked down, but crews were still monitoring hot spots. Tiles falling from the roof posed a danger to firefighters, but no injuries were reported.

Investigators said the fire began in the back of the home's first floor and quickly spread to the second floor, burning everything in its path.

The damage was considered to be a total loss, estimated between $300,000 and $400,000. Vista Fire Department and North County Fire were assisting Oceanside Fire Department.

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