San Diego

Suspect Sought for Intentionally Setting Fires at 2 Carmel Valley Schools

The first suspicious fire was lit in a storage container at Ocean Air Elementary School on Aug. 9, while the second fire was set at Sage Canyon Elementary School on Aug. 13

Investigators are searching for the suspect or suspects responsible for intentionally setting fires at two elementary schools in the Carmel Valley area – both inside storage containers near school buildings.

The fires happened within four days of one another, the first on Aug. 9 just after 9:50 p.m. at Ocean Air Elementary School on Canter Heights Drive, and the second just after 10:20 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Sage Canyon Elementary School on Harvest Run Drive.

According to investigators with the San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST), at Ocean Air Elementary School, a fire was lit in a storage container that was up against an exterior wall of a classroom. As the fire grew, investigators said it spread from the container into the wall of the classroom, causing about $25,000 worth of damages.

At Sage Canyon Elementary School, an unknown suspect also lit a storage container positioned next to a wall of one of the school buildings. The blaze activated the fire sprinklers, which helped control the flames until firefighters arrived.

Due to similarities in the cases, MAST investigators believe the arson crimes are related. The schools are located about one mile away from one another.

No one was hurt in the fires.

Investigators said a witness who was walking his dog in a park near Sage Canyon Elementary School saw three men running toward a dark-colored sedan at the time of that fire. The men were last seen speeding southbound on Harvest Run Drive.

The investigation is ongoing and, at this point, there have been no arrests. Anyone with information on these cases can reach out to MAST officials at (619) 236-6815 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.

Contact Us