SAN JOSE (KRON) — Hot weather is hitting the Bay Area, as investigators remain focused on some recent suspicious fires in the City of San Jose.
The fires are happening just south of Downtown San Jose. Up one hill, you can see a burn scar from one recent fire. Interstate 280 is just over the top. You can see several of these burn scars along 280 and in the nearby Coyote Meadows.
Both are areas with significant numbers of homeless encampments.
“If you look over there, you can where the fire was,” said one homeless woman, who did not reveal her name to KRON4.
As she collected recyclables in Coyote Meadows, the homeless woman said she suspects the recent fires are not simply the result of cook fires but were deliberately set.
“No, they’re not cook fires, it’s more of a pyro person,” she said. “…It’s someone who is just starting fires for amusement.”
Hardly a day goes by lately when the fire department has been called to the scene of a grass or debris fire there and along nearby Coyote Creek, where a number of homeless camps have popped up again after people were evicted from a large camp known as The Jungle.
“It’s a chronic concern,” San Jose spokesman David Vossbrink said. “We have known there are a lot of camps in the creeks and there have been fires. Sometimes it’s from cooking, other times it’s been deliberate.”
One recent fire broke out along the freeway behind the Chua Di Lac Buddhist temple where the venerable Thich Phap Luu and some members of his flock were gathered in the garden.
“It came close, everything could have burned,” Luu said. “They were very scared and very nervous, but I told everybody to pray.”
The city’s arson team is also working on solving some recent suspicious dumpster fires a mile or so west of Coyote Creek, but the fire department has not said anything about a possible connection.
Meantime, park rangers in Coyote Meadows say they have been threatened by illegal campers, and the homeless woman KRON4 met says she is looking for a new place to sleep.
“I just decided to get out of here before I get burned up,” she said.
Rangers and cleanup crews won’t be entering the Coyote Meadows area without an escort from now on. And the city is reminding residents that there is an arson tip line.
The number is easy to remember–408-272-7766 or simply 27 arson.
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