Glendale police say rash of fires could be work of an arsonist

Police fear a rash of trash and furniture fires over the past three months in south Glendale may be the work of an arsonist.

Officers have logged 17 fires involving trash and abandoned furniture left on neighborhood sidewalks and in alleys since January. The fires, which have been mostly contained to items set ablaze, frequently occur at night and in the early morning.

“These are not lightning strikes,” said Lt. John Gilkerson, who oversees south Glendale. “These are man-made fires.”

The latest fire, which occurred at 4:50 a.m. Saturday, involved a mattress, and it spread to a carport in the 400 block of East Harvard Street, causing damage.

The fire has prompted concerns that the blazes could become more serious and “potentially deadly,” Gilkerson said.

“I am responsible for the people in the southern part of the city,” he said. “I want them to be safe.”

Police believe the fires are likely the work of a lone arsonist.

Glendale Crime Stoppers, a local volunteer community organization, has offered a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

Police have also stepped up their patrol efforts in south Glendale. Still, Gilkerson said that’s not enough.

Residents, he said, must be vigilant.

Last month, police cadets handed out informational fliers to residents in the area, advising them about the fires and asking them to call authorities if they see any suspicious activity.

Police urge residents to report any illegal dumping or abandoned bulky items.

Anyone with details about the incidents may call Det. Travis Goodreau at (818) 548-3127. To remain anonymous, call Glendale Crime Stoppers at (818) 507-7867.


Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.


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