San Diego State University

Former Student to Face Arson Charges After Series of Fires at SDSU

Four fires broke out on SDSU's campus in three days under what university police called "suspicious circumstances"

A former San Diego State University student was in court Wednesday facing multiple charges of arson after a series of fires ignited at her old school last week. 

Madelyn Delarosa, 19, was arrested on Saturday in connection with four different fires on SDSU's campus, according to the University Police Department (UPD).

The first fire was reported at about 11 a.m. Thursday when a parked car was found in flames along Hardy Avenue. Shortly after, the door of an apartment building located on the same street caught fire.

Both fires were considered suspicious and San Diego Fire-Rescue and a Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) were called in to assist campus police with the investigation. 

The next day at around 8:30 a.m., a fire broke out in an apartment building on Montezuma Road -- just hundreds of feet from the fires the day before, according to UPD.

NBC 7’s Ramon Galindo reports from the Granada Apartments near SDSU where a car fire broke out inside the garage, forcing the evacuation of the building.

Another car was found in flames on Saturday at about 8:10 a.m., but this time it was located inside an apartment complex’s parking garage, called the Granada. The complex was also located on Hardy Avenue.

SDFD, MAST, and UPD said they were able to connect all four of the fires to Delarosa and took her into custody on Saturday, following the fourth fire.

Delarosa was booked into jail on charges of arson of an inhabited structure, two counts of arson to property, and possession of arson materials. Her bail was set at $300,000.

She pleaded guilty Wednesday to 12 felony counts. If convicted on all of them, Delarosa could spend 13 years in prison.

"We take this case very seriously in light of the grave risk that it posed to each of these apartment complexes as well as the obvious property damage that could have been a lot worse as well had it not been for the quick action of civilians, law enforcement and the fire department," prosecutor Rikole Santin said.

For every fire, UPD reported no injuries and said the fires were quickly put out or went out on their own.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Delarosa may have targeted people.

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