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Serial arsonist sought in San Jose

Authorities are investigating a series of fires in downtown San Jose, and have released a sketch of the man suspected of setting them. The latest occurred early Monday morning, one of about a dozen fires suspected of being deliberately set. No one has been injured from the blazes, but multiple homes have been targeted, and in one case neighbors had to help an elderly couple escape a fire that engulfed their home. A $10,000 reward is being offered by the San Jose Fire Department for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

"These fires have targeted San Jose residents in the darkest hours of the night when they are most vulnerable. We have been very fortunate that these incidents have not resulted in serious injury or death to our residents. Should these fires continue, I feel that this good fortune could run out," San Jose Battalion Chief Robert Sapien warned over the weekend.

Police sketch of a suspect sought in connection with a series of deliberately set fires in downtown San Jose
Police sketch of a suspect sought in connection with a series of deliberately set fires in downtown San Jose San Jose Police Department

Police believe the serial arsonist began his spree on January 8th, setting multiple fires that day, and for several days afterwards. In all cases, the fires were set outside of the buildings, and in several instances surveillance cameras captured images of the suspect. He is believed to be either white of Hispanic, between 25 and 40 years old and six feet to six feet two inches tall, weighing between 160 and 180 pounds.

Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact Arson Unit Captain Christopher Murphy at (408) 930-5491, or call 911 in the event of an emergency. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call 408-27-ARSON (272-7766).

KNTV contributed to this report.