Tree arsonist getting closer and closer to homes - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Tree arsonist getting closer and closer to homes

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A Rolando resident is worried about her family's safety after an arsonist has repeatedly set fire to trees near their home.

The CBS News 8 viewer contacted us, saying that the fires are getting closer and closer.

"We've had six fires in our neighborhood since 2012," Rolando resident Susan Watson said.

When you walk the block where Susan Watson and Jennifer Shuey live, it's easy to see the eye sores.

"It happened at 5 a.m. and actually we didn't know it happened until we got up the next day. From our front yard could see more trees had burned," Susan said.

The latest tree set on fire is located across from where the two live, in an empty lot where some stairs lead to apartments. It happened just a week ago and the two tell us other trees have been set on fire -- several right next to their home.

"Probably the most terrifying evenings of my life. Being woken up to my property on fire. So definitely bad memories," Jennifer said.

"It's very scary, I think every time it happens it's more terrifying, because we're so worried about the safety of our pets, my family's safety and the safety of our neighbors as well," Susan said.

So right now the question is who's setting these trees on fire.

"Any car you don't recognize that's driving through the neighborhood, you feel kind of weird but you don't know who they are or what they're doing. It's just not a comfortable feeling," Jennifer said.

We spoke to the San Diego Police Department's Metro Arson Strike Team and they confirmed that several fires have been set in the past few years. Part of the problem surrounds the empty lot that has become a hangout for transients or people up to no good. But as for a suspect, they don't believe last week's fire is related to the others that have happened over the past few years, although they couldn't say why because it's under investigation.

"I think they're related. I can't imagine someone else wanting to start a fire too," Susan said.

Susan would like to see cameras set up but knows that's not likely. And if not that, then something.

"I think it should be made a priority. And especially with the density of people who live in the area where there's been a propensity for fires," she said.

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