Suspicious Fire at South Pasadena Middle School

A resident walking his dog Sunday night reported seeing a small rubbish fire on the campus, authorities said.

Someone lit a trash can and a piece of paper on fire on the grounds of South Pasadena Middle School Sunday night, a fire captain said Monday. 

Firefighters responded to the campus following the 8:39 p.m. call from a man walking his dog on Marengo Avenue. The resident said he saw flames coming out of a trash can, said South Pasadena Fire Capt. Kris Saxon. Minutes later when authorities arrived, they found no flames - only a smoldering melted, plastic trashcan. The fire happened outside the building. 

Firefighters walked around the campus, Saxon said, and found burnt pieces of paper that had been affixed to doors. Again, it was not flaming, having burned away by the time authorities arrived. 

"This is suspicious and has been turned over to the police department. It wasn't accidental,'' he said. 

South Pasadena Police Sgt. Brian Solinsky said the papers were attached to four classroom doors, which sustained superficial burn marks. It appears the fire would have extinguished itself had the fire department not arrived on scene first, he said. Detectives are reviewing the investigation, but it is not believed to be related to the recent string of arsons or last week's arrest of South Pasadena resident Javier Viera. 

Viera is suspected of igniting dozens of fires in town. He is being held at Pasadena City Jail on $2 million bail.


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