Suspected arsonist has California Heights residents on edge

Rosemary Ferrier is worried someone has been setting fires around her California Heights neighborhood in Long Beach.

Two weeks ago, a fire that she believes someone set intentionally in a back alley quickly spread to her home, causing substantial damage.

"There was a little picket fence here between the two properties, and there was some brush right there," said Ferrier. "They must have lit the brush on fire, it caught the fence, and then lit the base of the garage on fire."

She wasn't home at the time, but the mother of two is concerned this could happen again. "On the other side of this garage is my children’s playroom," she explained.

FOX 11 has learned this was the sixth suspicious fire in California Heights since April. The Long Beach Fire Department confirmed all of them are being investigated as arson.

"The concern is, if left unchecked and left unaddressed, those fires get larger. And the concern is it poses a risk for the community," said Firefighter Jake Heflin with LBFD. But he stressed they need the community's help to find the culprit or culprits. He said people should report "individuals that you see loitering or hanging around in the alleys" or any other suspicious activity.

Tom Heaton, who's lived in the neighborhood for 35 years, said he's concerned. He usually keeps up with community news on Facebook.

"We’re a close neighborhood. We’re always watching out for each other on the street," Heaton said. "But not necessarily in the alley."

Residents want answers and reassurance this is a priority for the fire and police departments.

"Our community just wants to know that something’s being done to find whoever it is," said Ferrier. "If one of these fires gets more out of control than this one did, it could be a real disaster."

Fire investigators say there's not enough evidence to conclude whether one or more people are responsible.