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Metro Fire: 3 separate fires near Costco ‘not accidental’

May 18 fires, Citrus Heights
Metro Fire crews shown cleaning up after extinguishing several suspicious fires in field areas around the Citrus Heights Costco, Wednesday evening. // CH Sentinel

Fire crews responded to three ‘suspicious’ fires in Citrus Heights around 6 p.m. Wednesday, all occurring in field areas near Costco and Walmart on Auburn Boulevard.

Metro Fire Battalion Chief Mark Repetto said crews extinguished two separate grass fires located about 100 yards apart and 400 feet behind Costco. He said the two fires were located on homeless camps, while a third debris fire near Walmart involved “homeless paraphernalia.”

“If it’s one [fire], I would say someone’s trying to cook and they start a fire,” the battalion chief said. “But when there’s three like that, that’s suspicious, not accidental.”

Repetto said an arson investigator was scheduled to assess the scene more thoroughly on Thursday and would also review video surveillance. He said the investigator could not respond to the scene Wednesday due to several other grass fires occurring in Sacramento County the same day, at least one of which involved an arson investigation.

A total of four engines assisted in extinguishing the fires around Costco and Walmart. Firefighters had to “hike in” to access the fires, using several hundred feet of hose extensions to reach the locations.

The fires were all kept under “50 by 100” in size and were extinguished in about 10 minutes, according to Repetto.

Update: Phone messages left on Saturday regarding an update on the fire investigation were not immediately returned by Metro Fire’s Public Information Office.

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