SF fire investigators track arsonist targeting construction sites

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Fire investigators in San Francisco have been tracking an arsonist who seems to be targeting construction sites in the South of Market area.

According to construction crews at one high rise development, one of the fires caused $30,000 in damage.

So far most of the fires in the neighborhood have been set in dumpsters or just inside the fences encircling the construction sites. However, Thursday's fire is alarming because it seems as if someone got into the parking garage, set a car on fire, and then run off.

Crews quickly attacked the fire inside the parking structure at One Rincon Plaza. A firefighter had to pry open the hood of the car that was set ablaze.

According to residents of the building, an email was sent out notifying tenants this was the second fire set this week.

"After the first fire, they said the fire department came in and couldn't find the source of the fire, just saw smoke. And that was it. The second one, they said they saw a guy running out of the parking garage after setting fire to a car and they're investigating the matter," said one resident who declined to tell us his name.

That resident says building management may have pulled an image of a suspect from surveillance cameras. Other residents say the back to back fires are a concern.

"Two days in a row is kind of scary, that it happened two days in a row," resident Lauren Stefanopoulos said.

"Knowing that there were other incidents that let up to these last two, I'm sure that's got a lot of people concerned," resident Spero Stefanopoulos said.

This is the latest in a series of fires that have been set at or near construction sites in the booming South of Market neighborhood. Arson investigators with the San Francisco police and fire departments are working together as a special-joint task force. They want to catch whoever is setting these fires before anyone gets hurt. After Thursday's blaze, even getting out of this high rise is a concern.

"It's scary, of course. We're on a high level, so to get out of the building really fast is kind of a scary moment for us, if the elevators aren't working," Lauren said.

Construction crews tell ABC7 News they've increased security patrols and are adding videos cameras.
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.