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'It's alarming:' Redding investigators noticing a steep increase in arsons

Fire investigators in one local community say they are seeing an increase in arson - linked to carelessness.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 10:30 AM
Updated: Nov 23, 2020 11:07 AM

REDDING, Calif. - Fire investigators in one local community say they are seeing an increase in arson - linked to carelessness.

In the last few weeks, Action News Now has reported an abundant number of arson arrests in the City of Redding.

"We have seen an uptick in that, it's alarming," said Guido Concello, a fire investigator from the Redding Fire Department.

The Redding Fire Department has reported 24 arson arrests this year alone.

"It is concerning," said Mike Jones, he does not live in Redding but his mother does.

"You hear about the increase of fire danger, gets a lot of publicity," Jones said adding, "I think they're a lot of people out there who are maybe a little off-center who think this is a great opportunity to just wreak havoc." 

Guido Concello agrees in part. He says 30 to 50% of those fires are intentional. Not all are done on purpose, he emphasizes. 

"If someone is convicted of the crime of arson they serve their time in prison," Guido said, adding "once they get released from prison they are mandated to register as an arsonist with local authorities."

Concello says those individuals are then interviewed to pinpoint where they live.

Concello tells Action News Now the most common areas firefighters find human-caused fires are in open spaces of Redding - including Henderson open space.

"It's more than likely a warming fire or cooking fire in a transient camp. So we're going around educating people," Concello said.

"They seem to do a really good job in the city here to try to protect the homes and structures and the people," Jones said.

Concello adds there are currently 112 registered arsonists in Redding. But adds that number could have accumulated in the past several years and new people could have moved there.

Despite the high number of arson cases and arrests, fire investigators say none of the fires started, led to any injuries or deaths.

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Another very windy day for northern California as an area of low pressure continues its southward trek over our state. Thankfully we'll have much quieter weather on Wednesday, with more rain and snow chances coming.
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