Fire Chief: No Pattern To Recent Fires

LA MESA -- The three recent fires that have hit the greater downtown La Mesa area have had some residents wondering about the causes of these blazes.

But fire officials Tuesday said only one of the three fires appears to have been of suspicious origin.

Heartland Fire & Rescue Chief Rick Sitta, attending Tuesday night's La Mesa City Council meeting, said the cause of Monday's apartment fire on Third Street appears to have been the failure of one or more electrical appliances left plugged in in the apartment's bathroom.

The cause of the Super Bowl Sunday duplex fire on Fourth Street in La Mesa Village appeared to be a space heater left on.

It was Saturday night's blaze on lower Palm Avenue that may prove to have been set, perhaps by vagrants, Sitta said. The office building that burned had already had its electricity cut off, its dry-wall removed and asbestos abatement largely completed in anticipation of a planned demolition.

"It was stripped down to the wood and there was a lot of fuel that went up quickly in that one,'' Sitta said. The chief said witnesses reported seeing people near the scene prior to the fire, but that investigation is continuing.

Sitta said fire fighters had planned to use the Palm Avenue building for search and rescue exercises prior to its demotion, but were forced into emergency fire fighting instead. "We got a different sort of training,'' he said.

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Tags: Crime, Heartland Fire & Rescue, La Mesa Fire, La Mesa Today, La Mesa newspaper, fires

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