preschool fire
Fire investigators determined the blaze that damaged a Turnpike Road preschool building was started intentionally. Authorities identified a male juvenile suspected of starting the fire and two more small fires in the area.  (Peter Hartmann / Noozhawk photo)

Investigators determined a late-night fire that damaged a Goleta-area church building earlier this week was started intentionally, Santa Barbara County Fire Department Capt. Daniel Bertucelli said.

That blaze was reported at 11:40 p.m. Monday, and between midnight and 3:30 a.m., firefighters responded to two more intentionally set fires in the same area, at Turnpike Road and Vala Drive, which destroyed several garbage cans and a portable toilet, he said. 

On Tuesday, fire investigators and Sheriff’s Department detectives identified and arrested a male juvenile suspected of starting the multiple fires, he said.

The juvenile’s name was not released because he is a minor.

The structure fire was started intentionally inside the preschool at the 487 N. Turnpike Road building, and caused major damage to the Growing Babies Preschool and Infant Center and the Church of Religious Science, Bertucelli said.

The Center of the Heart is located at the same address. 

The first responding firefighting crews reported heavy smoke and flames at the scene, and a second alarm was called to bring in additional resources.

No injuries were reported in the fire.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.