Tuesday, December 1 , 2015, 3:07 am | Fair 43º

Weekend Fires in Santa Barbara Investigated as Arson

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

Firefighters have responded to seven brush fires since Friday night, and five of them are being investigated as suspicious, according to Santa Barbara City Fire Department investigator Ryan DiGuilio.

They responded to a vegetation fire on the Union Pacific railroad tracks above Carrillo Street around 6:30 p.m. Friday night, which was deemed suspicious in nature.

On Saturday night, four fires were discovered within an hour of one aother and close together geographically, which DiGuilio said contributes to investigators believing they were the result of arson.

City fire crews responded to a fire on the 500 block of Loma Alta Drive around 9 p.m., and then three brush fires on the railroad tracks between Figueroa and Canon Perdido streets, where the tracks run parallel to Highway 101.

“They were all within an hour or each other, so we’re definitely taking a close look at those, and all of the individual fires were deemed suspicious,” DiGuilio said.

It’s still unknown if this weekend’s fires are connected to the unsolved arson fires of Jan. 22-23 at the base of TV Hill, off Loma Alta Drive.

“We’re still trying to see if they’re linked together,” DiGuilio said.

Those fires broke out in the same area on consecutive nights. The Jan. 22 fire, which started just before 6 p.m. near Loma Alta Drive and Canon Perdido Street, threatened homes and burned two to three acres. 

The next night, a blaze broke out at 8:30 p.m. about four blocks away from the previous fire. Authorities consider both fires as deliberately set.

DiGuilio urges anyone who has information, or witnessed one of the incidents, to come forward and call him at 805.564.5723. He noted that these investigations evolve from witness statements and tips from the public.

The two brush fires along Highway 101 on Sunday are believed to be accidental at this point and unconnected to the fires on Friday and Saturday, but city fire officials are still investigating the incidents.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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