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Two Arrested for String of Early Morning Arson Fires

park-street-fires-sep-28-2014 (9)
Update: Sep. 29th, 8:22am – Police arrested Andrew Resto Gutierrez, 22, and Michael Stephen Petersen, 27.

Alameda police have arrested a 27 year-old Alameda man, and a 22 year-old man not resident in Alameda, both suspected of arson, in association with a string of fires on and around Park Street early this morning.

The smell of smoke was still in the air after 1pm on the 1600 block of Park Street this morning, where a fire gutted a restaurant and a dry cleaners.

Charred debris and shingles littered a sidewalk that was taped-off as a crime scene.

A man named Ching Lau, who said he is the son of the owner of the building on the 1600 block that hosted the dry cleaners and restaurant, told Action Alameda News, “I’m just trying to help the tenants here get through this terrible crime, and keep their business going and help them out whichever way we can.”

From the back door of Jim’s Coffee Shop, at Lincoln and Park Street, one could better see the extent of the damage to the building.

An employee there, who didn’t want to be identified, said he believed the fire started at the back of the building, and that they were lucky the fire didn’t spread to the coffee shop.

The City of Alameda issued a statement saying that the fires are being investigated by the Alameda Police Department, the Alameda Fire Department, the Alameda County Arson Task Force, and the Alameda County Crime Lab.

Nobody is known to have been injured, but at least five businesses were impacted, and four families were displaced from their home.

City officials reported that the fires were set between 1am and 5am in this chronological order:

  1. 1300 block of Regent Street
  2. 2000 block of San Antonio
  3. 1100 block of Regent Street
  4. 2200 block of San Antonio
  5. 1000 block of Willow Street
  6. 2200 block of Encinal Ave
  7. 1600 block of Park Street
  8. 1500 block of Park Street

Through mutual aid agreements, 35 firefighters came from Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda County to aid 37 Alameda Fire Department personnel; some 15 Alameda police officers responded as well.

Alameda police had not responded to a request for the names of the arrested by press time.

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