3 suspicious fires ignite in 30 minutes in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Blossom Hill Estates in South San Jose is the location of the third fire San Jose firefighters had to attack. There is a lot of debris left from the fire, which started right behind a wooden fence.

Cellphone video from Michelle Gonzalez was taken just moments after firefighters arrived on Coy Drive. It was 12:30 a.m. and already, they were fighting their third fire in 30 minutes.

"It's not ideal, we were understaffed and we were stretched very thin last night," said San Jose Fire Cpt. Mary Gutierrez.

Seventy-five of the department's 200 firefighters were responding to these fires. The first call came at 12:01 a.m. The fire in a house on Martwood Way started in the kitchen, but just 18 minutes into fighting that fire, a call for another fire came on Spinnaker Walkway.

"I looked out the window and all of a sudden there was flames, there was fire, so I got scared. My first instinct was to go and get my kids," said Mina Lara, a fire victim.

The fire started steps from Lara's condo, in a recycling bin that then spread to the gas and electric meters.

"When we were over there on the grass area, another fire started," said Lara.

A few yards away, a third fire started. Fire fighters scrambled to that one. San Jose didn't have enough battalion chiefs manning all three fires and needed to call one in from a neighboring fire department. Once at Coy Drive fire fighters found a similar scene.

"I heard a big blow up, like explosion or gunshots," said Gonzales, a witness.

The fire department's arson team is investigating both fires at Blossom Hill Estates. Fire officials are stopping short of calling these fires suspicious, but neighbors don't need a label, they just know they're worried.

"The area is not safe anymore it looks like to me, it's quite disturbing," said "kamal," a neighbor.

Because of all three fires, 22 people, including eight children, have been displaced. They're all getting help from the Red Cross and staying at local hotels.

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