Potential arsonist torching San Jose dumpsters

Someone is quite literally playing with fire — and causing damage — in San Jose, police believe.

There have been at least eight dumpster and vegetation fires during the last few weeks and the local fire department is asking residents to help them nab the culprit.

It looks like the crazies really do come out at night, with the large majority of the fires being started after dark, according to Fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez.

The streak of fires started Sept. 26, with the locations of the blazes ranging from back and side alleyways to dumpsters and trees near apartment complexes.

According to Gutierrez, the fires have so far never spread to any homes, but the proximity of the fires is something to be concerned about.

No injuries have been reported and, despite their frequency, the fires have only caused minimal damage.

Fire Capt. Christopher Murphy told CBS San Francisco that fires near residential areas are hazardous nonetheless because of the risk of the fire spreading:

“If you set combustible materials on fire and they build up enough steam and they catch the adjacent building on fire whether it be the eaves or the roof or some other combustible materials and before you know it, the fire is raging out of control.”

Serial arsonists also deplete the fire department’s resources as it requires firefighters to routinely leave the station, taking them away from more dire situations that may arise while they are fighting smaller fires.

Anyone with information is asked to call the San Jose Fire Department at 408-27-ARSON or 408-272-7766.