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Four Fresno brush fires erupt Monday, stoking fears of serial arson

Officials are investigating whether Fresno vegetation fires were intentionally set

Fresno officials are investigating whether multiple brush fires set Monday evening were acts of arson. 

Battalion Chief Todd Tuggle said two possible suspects were being questioned in connection with the fires, the Fresno Bee reported.

Two vegetation fires were set within a 20-minute span Monday evening in downtown Fresno near Highways 180 and 99. A third was set near California and Cedar Avenues around the same time, but officials were unsure if it was related, the newspaper reported. 

A fourth fire — which fit into the pattern of recent fires — was reported later in the evening at Olive Avenue and Highway 41.

The fires at times threatened structures and one person was reportedly hospitalized for smoke inhalation before they were contained.

Monday's fires were similar to other fires that erupted Sunday afternoon, Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo told the Bee. The nature of the spread of the fires, the timing and the numerous clusters have led firefighters to believe they may have been set intentionally.

Since May, Fresno has had more than 20 arson fires, prompting fears that the city is being hit by several serial arsonists.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and the Southland, follow @Caitlin__Owens, or email her at caitlin.owens@latimes.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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