Police suspect serial arsonist after eight fires set in Sandy neighborhood

Posted at 9:24 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 23:24:05-04

SANDY, Utah -- Sandy Police are looking for a serial arsonist they believe may be responsible for at least eight fires in the same neighborhood dating back to August.

The fires have all been set in a three-block radius in the area of 400 East 7500 South, between August 26 and October 19.

Blanca Velasquez can't hold back the tears as she walked through what's left of her back yard.

"It's hard to understand, hard to explain how people can be mean," Vasquez said.

Vasquez says some of these things will be difficult to replace, like her peach trees. She brought the seeds all the way from her native Bolivia.

"Every year I like to share it with my neighbors, share it with friends, my fruit," Vasquez said.

She says she was sleeping when the fire started. She is thankful neighbors knocked on her door and woke her up.

"She says, 'Open your door because your house is in flames' and when I open I see this, terrible," Vasquez said.

Police are actively investigating.

"The continual ongoing fires being started within this close proximity, we believe it may be the result of a serial arsonist," said Sgt. Dean Carriger of the Sandy Police Department.

"Why people can hate brothers and sisters? Because this world is for everybody," Vasquez said.

In four of the eight fires, the houses themselves caught fire or received heavy smoke damage, according to police. No one was hurt but the homes were left unlivable.

"It kind of makes us worry about our safety because we don't know what's going to happen next," Cody Egbert said.

Egbert lives next door to one of the houses targeted by the apparent arsonist.

"I hear the lady crying about what's going on and it's just unfortunate that somebody is going to have to get removed from their home on something they didn't even do," Egbert said.

Residents say it's up to them to look out for one another. Neighborhood watch is in full force.

"They are reporting stuff that perhaps they wouldn't in the past," said resident Anthony Arnason.

Sandy Police say they do have some leads, but no suspects at this time. If anyone has any information on who is setting these fires you are being urged to call Sandy police.