A brush fire broke out along the railroad tracks west of Palm Ave. both Sunday and Monday. Arson is suspected in both fires.Photos courtesy Kim Hutton

Brush Fire along Main Street

June 24, 2005
SPFD: Arson suspected in separate fires on former Solo Cup property
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesSeparate fires on vacant property slated for residential development were probably deliberately set, according to a Santa Paula Fire official. Fire Chief Paul Skeels said that the approximately six-acre parcel located on Santa Barbara Street that had been part of the Solo Cup Company property was the scene of the fires on Sunday and Tuesday.The property, now owned by Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, is to the west of Weyerhaeuser Company said Chief Skeels. “There was a small brush fire extinguished Sunday, June 19, at about 3 p.m.” and a second fire that was reported Tuesday, June 21, at about noon. The small fires required responses from both engine companies, but were quickly put out, Chief Skeels noted.“Both fires were in the same general location, and firefighters were able to contain them” before the fires spread, but “they did cause some excitement. It they hadn’t been put out it, would have been a threat to neighboring property. We were not able to find any clues” as to the cause of the fires, but arson is suspected. “We didn’t find any evidence that lightning struck” twice in the same area, which is near the railroad tracks and a fence near the sidewalk.
Chief Skeels said that on Sunday, an on-duty SPFD Captain “had some indication that people were illegally shooting off fireworks in the general area” of the first fire. The fire would have more than likely destroyed any small bits of burning debris, and “we have a lack of hard evidence at this point” that the first blaze resulted from fireworks.The overgrown property was prime fire-fuel, but “As we speak, the property is being cut, mowed and disked,” Chief Skeels said Wednesday. Chief Skeels is asking that all property owners ensure that brush is cleared from their land. Property owners that do not comply with the city’s weed abatement ordinance face sanctions, including city contracted removal and administration fees that result in a lien against the property.

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