Santa Rosa residents fear grass fires could lead to disaster

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Police say someone intentionally set more than a dozen fires over the weekend, just south of an area devastated by the North Bay wildfires.

Eva Urdaneta lives on a cul-de-sac in Santa Rosa. Her house is on one side of West 6th Street and a bike path is on the other side, which is where someone was lighting fires over the weekend. If the fire had spread, Eva says it could have trapped her inside her home, "you see it's a circle in here and we can not get anywhere." Eva added, "we don't know what to do with these types of people. I heard that it's sometimes our homeless, but I don't see anything."

Investigators say someone set the fires around 11:40 p.m. on Saturday, which reminded Eva of the fires in October, which also started late at night and burned her sister's home in Coffey Park. "If they are playing with fire, we can lose lives."

RELATED: Santa Rosa police announce reward in effort to find arsonist

Video from Drone View 7 shows the path Saturday's arsonist took, lighting 13 fires within an hour, next to the railroad tracks along Hearn Avenue and along the Santa Rosa Creek trail. Police believe the arsonist was riding a bicycle. "Based upon how quickly the fires started, the frequency, the location, it would be very hard for someone to move that fast on foot and start the fires," said Sgt Marcus Sprague with the San Rosa Police Department.

"It worries me," said Steven Shaw who lives on Glenbrook Drive. "It's dry back there in the creek area and our house is pretty close." Several of the fires burned in the creek bed behind his home. "I hope the police are going to take care of it and I heard they were looking for people."

Police are canvassing the area for potential witnesses and announced a $2,500 reward on Monday for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of whoever started the fires. The reward is being offered by the Sonoma County Alliance Take Back Our Community Program.

For more information on the Sonoma County Alliance, visit this page.
Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.