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Jun 22, 2013 2:19 AM by Nathan O'Neal

Fourth Avenue residents on edge after string of intentional fires overnight

TUCSON - A string of suspicious fires overnight has residents in the Fourth Avenue area on edge.

Five separate reports of intentionally set fires were responsible for the burning of dumpsters, furniture and brush.

The Coronodo Hotel Apartments was built back in 1928. It was one of several spots targeted with overnight fires.

"Couches were piled up on top of each other... The flames were about 25 feet... Almost about to set this structure on fire," said Jesse Mains, the landlord for the apartments.

Captain Barrett Baker of Tucson Fire Department said three of the five fires were set within a 20 minute window, which is hardly ever an accident.

"We had about five different types of fires set involving couches, dumpsters, brush fires but all in a small area," Baker said.

The fire was especially frightening for the folks living at the apartment building, including the elderly and disabled people.

For Frank Carbahal and his dog Hermit who live in the apartment complex, it was overwhelming.

"It scares me a little because it's so close to the apartment," Carbahal told News 4 Tucson.

Luckily, fire crews got the flames under control but hours later, they returned and set a roll-off dumpster behind the apartments on fire.

Mains said he'll remain more vigilant in keeping watch over the property in the future, possibly instating fire drills.

"There are 40 residents that live here and that would be a major disaster if somebody who is out doing stupid stuff were to actually kill somebody," Mains said.

With the dryness of the desert, the threat of fires growing quickly is especially dangerous.

"If [fire crews] don't get here in three or four minutes that fire can really take off and something that goes from a dumpster fire can turn into a building fire and it's just completely unnecessary," Baker said.

Police are seeking the public's help with the case. If you know any information that might help them, please call 9-1-1 or 88-CRIME.

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