San Jose on high alert for serial arsonist

San Jose is on fire watch this week.

Not because of the unseasonal dry heat, but due to a serial arsonist being suspected of setting off 13 fires in and around the downtown area of San Jose in just one week.

 One of the fires nearly injured an elderly couple on Saturday before they were pulled to safety by a man and his son.

A $10,000 reward has been offered by the San Jose Firefighters Union for information leading to the arrest of the arson and the San Jose Police Department is assisting in the investigation.

They posted a sketch of the arson here.

San Jose resident Jose Lara, who spoke to NBC Bay Area, said:

“Everybody’s just scared right now. Everybody’s just thinking about it. To see where he’s going to target. Where he’s going to do his thing and stuff. Everybody’s afraid.”

Police believe the arson is using newspapers and cardboard to light the fires, mostly on people’s front porches.

San Jose neighborhoods which lost a fire engine or even an entire station due to budget cuts are extremely concerned.

Battalion Chief Robert Sapien, who spoke to NBC Bay Area, said:

“Right now we are so thin that we are not really providing the services that we should provide.”

 San Jose residents, in the meantime, are rallying together to increase vigilance around the community. Two nights have passed since any suspicious fires have been reported.

According to authorities, the suspect is a 6 foot tall white or Hispanic man with medium-length dark hair who weighs between 160 and 180 pounds.

 If you have information regarding the arson or recognize the man in the sketch, you are encouraged to call  San Jose Fire Department Arson Unit Captain Christopher Murphy @ (408) 930-5491, or if you wish to remain anonymous, call (408) 272-7766.