String of fires investigated in Hillcrest, North Park

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SAN DIEGO -- Two trucks and a garage were damaged Monday morning in a series of small fires set over a four-hour period around the North Park and Hillcrest neighborhoods.

Around 4:40 a.m., someone torched debris in the beds of two pickup trucks in the vicinity of Boundary Street and Lincoln Avenue and caused about $6,000 in damage, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson.

A garage on Essex Street near Herbert Street caught fire about 7 a.m., and fires were set in dumpsters or trash cans on University Avenue near 10th Avenue and on Herbert Street near University Avenue, Swanson said.

"We turned around and there was a trashcan on fire," said Nicholas Curtis.

Curtis was working on a construction site across the street, he saw the smoke as he arrived to work.

"I ran and got some fire extinguishers," said Curtis.  "We didn't think the fire extinguishers would put it out, I mean it was all the way the building by the time we got there.  Luckily two fire extinguishers were able to get it out."

The owner of the building, shaken by the incident told Fox 5 four tenants were home at the time.

"The big thing is life and limb are secure and we're very happy about that," said the man who wanted to remain unidentified.

He said he has owned the building for 32 years and there has never been any problems.  He hopes an arrest will be made soon.

"I try to keep the neighborhood nice for the tenants and to hear a random third party came up here and to shake up their lives, as well as ours, it’s really unfortunate," said the owner.

Swanson said the fires were being investigated as arson, but it was not clear whether they were all set by the same person.

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