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Image Released Of Arsonist Wanted In String Of Suspicious Fires Set Throughout Ventura

VENTURA (CBSLA) — Authorities in Ventura need the public's help to identify a man they believe to be behind several suspicious fires set throughout the city.

This week's fires are the latest in a string of similar fires that started in early August set to vegetation, farming equipment and cars throughout the city, according to the Ventura Fire Department.

The latest fire was reported Thursday morning at 5:24 a.m. in several dumpsters in the area of Market Street and Fleet Avenue. Fires had been set in three garbage dumpsters – one next to a structure in the 1300 block of Tower Square, a second in the 1500 block of Morse Avenue, and a third debris fire in the 1500 block of Fleet Avenue that was out before firefighters arrived.

Thursday's fires follow a series of arson incidents all over Ventura the day before. The string of Wednesday arson fires started with a tree row found burning in an agricultural field near Olivas Park Drive and Telephone Road at about 5 a.m.

Less than an hour later, firefighters were sent to put three more fires – two vegetation fires on Park Row Avenue and on the Olive offramp to southbound Highway 33, and a debris fire in a utility vault on West Main Street. Ventura fire officials say they gathered information about a suspect at each of these incidents.

ventura suspicious fires
(credit: Ventura Fire Department)

Firefighters got a respite during the day, but had to go out again at 9:44 p.m. to put out fires in two separate dumpsters in the 1800 block of Portola Road. About an hour later, they were called to another fire in the 900 block of Ventura Avenue, where bystanders had already put out the flames that were set under a retail propane tank storage bin. At this location, investigators were able to collect video surveillance of the suspect.

Three more fires were reported in quick succession over the next 45 minutes on Olive Street – a fence and vegetation on fire in the 900 block of North Olive Street, debris set aflame under a car a few blocks down, and more vegetation and a fence on fire another block down. At the third fire, a bystander was found trying to put out the flames.

All the fires are under investigation. A description of the suspect was not released.

Anyone with information about the suspect can call Ventura police Detective Tyler Buck at (805) 339-4462.

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