Chief: Structure fires suspicious in nature

CNJ staff

Clovis firefighters have responded to three fires at vacant residential structures since Saturday, according to Clovis Fire Chief Ray Westerman.

“They are all suspicious in nature,” he said. “It is unusual for us to have so many at a time.”

Fire and law enforcement are working together on the investigations, he said.

Including the recent fires on Connelly, Thornton and Georgia streets, Westerman estimated there have been around half a dozen fires in vacant homes in the last couple weeks.

Typically occurring at night, Westerman said the fires could be the result of arson or started by people seeking shelter from cooler temperatures.

“(It could be) homeless people seeking out these structures and building a little fire to keep warm, or it could be someone that enjoys setting fires,” he said. “We don’t really know.

“They’re all being looked into but it’s very difficult to detect who’s doing it.”

Westerman encouraged residents to call police to report suspicious activity around vacant homes and to call the fire department at the first sign of fire.

“The community in general (should try) to be aware of their surroundings and the people that come and go,” he said.