Man arrested in Morgan Hill after confessing to setting 15 South Bay fires, police say

Bay City News
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Man arrested in South Bay after confessing to setting 15 fires: police
Morgan Hill police arrested a man they allege confessed Tuesday to setting 15 fires in southern Santa Clara County.

MORGAN HILL, Calif. -- Morgan Hill police arrested a man they allege confessed Tuesday to setting 15 fires in southern Santa Clara County.

Police arrested Daniel Catano, 32, on suspicion of multiple counts of arson as well as for burglary, auto burglary, theft, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property, according to a news release Tuesday night from the Morgan Hill Police Department.

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The arrest comes after a series of suspicious fires in Morgan Hill and Gilroy since April.

The most significant fires include one in which a housing development on Depot Street in Morgan Hill was burned to the ground, police said.

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Catano is also suspected of setting at least eight other fires in Gilroy and committing an auto burglary Monday in Morgan Hill, when one of the victims -- an off-duty officer -- followed the suspect, who was able to evade officers.

Following reports from witnesses who observed someone setting a fire Monday night at Hale Avenue and Llagas Road in Morgan Hill, police received mutual aid from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, San Jose Police Department's helicopter and Campbell Police Department's Drone operators. Two K9 units were used to search the large area and were unable to locate the suspects after a four-hour grid search.

A witness helped lead authorities to Catano and police arrested him early Tuesday morning.

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Police allege during an interview of Catano that he confessed to setting as many as 15 fires.

The statement from Morgan Hill Police said officers were grateful for the assistance of the Gilroy Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, Campbell Police Department, San Jose Police Department, California State Parole and the Piedmont Police Department captain.

This investigation is ongoing, and anyone who may have information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Scott Martin at: (669) 253-4981 or email at