Man allegedly starts fires in own house, lies about it

Nothing to see here, folks — except for a half-dozen fires.

A 44-year-old man was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of setting six fires at his own Excelsior district home.

The man had reportedly told his worried neighbor there was nothing to worry about and then refused to let firefighters inside.

The resident, whose identity was not released, apparently did not explain to emergency responders why he started the blazes at his home in the 700 block of Brazil Avenue, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said Wednesday.

A neighbor called 911 at 11:13 p.m. reporting toxic-smelling smoke coming from the home, Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

The neighbor said he spoke with the home’s resident, but the resident claimed he had successfully doused the fire.

“In fact, he had actually started the fire,” Talmadge said.

When firefighters arrived, Esparza said, the resident refused to let them in.

By then “there was a pretty significant working fire in the rear of the structure,” Esparza said, and so the firefighters reportedly forced their way in, extinguished the flames and later determined the blazes had been intentionally set.

“They discovered a chair burned in the bedroom,” Talmadge said.

Authorities haven’t said why the man started the fire. He was arrested on six counts of arson. There was $15,000 in damage to the structure and about $100,000 in damage to the contents of the building, Talmadge said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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