San Bernardino turned into a battlefield for firefighters as a series of blazes, deemed suspicious, ripped through buildings on West Fourth Street, culminating in a dumpster fire that threatened to engulf a commercial structure. As per the San Bernardino County Fire Department, they faced their first test when they were called to a vacant building at 340 W. 4th Street on the evening of Saturday.
Upon arrival at approximately 5:40 PM, crews were met with smoke and flames billowing from a room on the first floor, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department's release. The blaze was swiftly subdued within ten minutes, and the building was thoroughly searched, thankfully yielding no victims. Miraculously, there were no injuries to either firefighters or civilians. Investigators are now probing the incident, determined to uncover the cause of the fire.
The same address beckoned them once more the same night at 8:55 PM, when a new inferno presented itself, this time on the second floor. Crews were greeted with fire visible from two rooms, necessitating a second-alarm response due to the occupancy's size and fire intensity. "The additional fire appears to be a new start & not a rekindle of the previous fire." said SBCoFD. Both fires at this location are undergoing investigative scrutiny for cause and origin.
While that second fire was being tackled, at 9:31 PM, a third caught the attention of the firefighters at an adjacent building at 398 West Fourth Street. Here, a more dire scene unfolded as one citizen was spotted hanging from an exterior window amidst swirling smoke. After extinguishing the first-floor blaze, one individual was evacuated to safety, narrowly escaping what could have been a grim fate. An engine company from Colton and Rialto lent their efforts to the substantial response that saw a fleet of 12 engines and further resources summoned to the scene.
Finally, at 10:11 PM, a dumpster fire outbreak just two blocks south at West 2nd Street and South "D" Street was quickly contained before it could surge into an adjacent commercial property. San Bernardino PD, who reported this latest incident, raised the suspicions that now hang over all four occurrences, each marked by an unsettling question of intentionality.
San Bernardino County Fire's arson crime reporting hotline remains open to anyone holding information that could lead to an understanding, or perhaps a conviction, surrounding these incidents. Calls are welcome to the Fire Investigation Unit at 909-347-1771 or anonymously through We-Tip at 800-47-ARSON (800-472-7766) and their website.