Authorities search for arsonist who targeted rural home


Images of the burnt-out property in Pala that authorities believe was targeted by an arsonist. (Photo: San Diego Crime Stoppers)

SAN DIEGO — Local arson investigators are asking for the public’s help tracking down a person who set fire to an abandoned property in rural northeast San Diego County.

The fire started in the evening on Monday, Aug. 10 at the home on Portillo Road in Pala. The blaze was first spotted by a resident walking by the property. Grass was burning near an abandoned vehicle parked outside the house.

The passerby called 911 and tried put out the flames until Pala Fire Department arrived. By then, the fire had spread from the vehicle to the home itself. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze.

Arson investigators determined the fire was suspicious, and a neighbor’s video surveillance caught an unknown person walking in the area prior to the blaze.

Friends of the property owner are offering a $1,500 reward, added to an offer from San Diego County Crime Stoppers of $1,000, for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

Residents can call 888-580-8477 to report tips, or visit the Crime Stoppers website.

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