Authorities investigate possible arson in Horton Plaza

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SAN DIEGO -- A food cart was destroyed by flames early Monday morning outside Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego in a fire investigators believe was likely set by an arsonist.

The blaze, reported at 4:50 a.m. outside the main entrance to the downtown shopping center, comes about two months after a hot dog cart nearby was destroyed by an arsonist's fire. The blaze Monday morning destroyed a crepe cart called OMG Crepes, while the fire Sept. 24 destroyed popular hot dog cart Brooklyn Dogs.

“I think it's the same guy. It’s heartbreaking because I know what happened to me. I put a fire-resistant tarp on mine. It cost us $10,000 to re-open," said Pete Soto, owner of Brooklyn Dogs.

Two fire engines from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department were dispatched to douse the flames that engulfed the crepe cart, and two investigators from the Metro Arson Strike Team were also dispatched to the scene, according to an agency incident log. Firefighters also reported a second fire in a garbage can on Broadway near Horton Plaza.

Police arrested 58-year-old Brian Smith for the trash can fire. Investigators are looking into whether Smith is connected to the food cart fires.

Soto says it's getting harder to run his business at Horton Plaza.

“People are afraid to come here – even walk through here. Because the homeless are so bad. The city needs to get a hold on this homeless… they're out of control. They’re going to run everybody out of this town -  not going to be any businesses left down here," said Soto.

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