Firefighters Facing Upswing of Suspicious Fires in Abandoned Areas

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Fire crews have responded to an increasing number of abandoned area fires in recent weeks.

Several unoccupied cars at an auto dismantler in Florin were engulfed in flames at around 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

“Engine 53 arrived to find multiple cars on fire and there was a possibility of it getting into some buildings, which we thought it initially did get into a building. But, luckily it did not,” Battalion Chief Rick Griggs of Sacramento Metro Fire said.

Nut neighbors said it came very close.

“There was a loud bang in the back yard, but you don’t think anything of it,” neighbor Oshey Maye said. “I look over, hear it again, double check and there was a huge fire.”

The cause or origin is still undetermined, but some said they may know who started it: residents said there are many transients in the area.

“They always go through there,” neighbor Rebeca Speakman said while pointing at an alley next to her home. “They can get on the train tracks and it’s easy access because there is a junk yard in the back, so I always see them going through.”

An abandoned home on the 200 block of Santiago in Sacramento was another blaze crews responded to earlier in the day. They suspect transients also started this one. It’s a scene all to familiar, especially during winter.

“There are quite a few homes that are abandoned that are caught on fire by transients,” Battalion Chief Griggs said. “They get inside, they want to try and stay warm, so they build a small fire, and unfortunately, it gets away from them. And by the time we get there, the entire house is on fire.”

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