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Man arrested, accused of arson in fires at Grant Hill house, apartment building

A 52-year-old man was arrested Monday in connection with fires that damaged a house and an apartment building on an abandoned property in Grant Hill in recent days.

The man was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of arson, according to jail records.

He is accused in a small exterior fire and separate interior fire that damaged a front house on the property on K Street near 38th Street last Wednesday. The fires — which “started close in time to each other” — caused $3,000 in damage combined, said San Diego police Sgt. Rick Pechin of the Metro Arson Strike Team.

The man also is suspected in a fire that damaged a two-story apartment building behind the front house around 11:45 a.m. Sunday. The fire started in an upstairs unit and caused an estimated $120,000 in damage, Pechin said.

A day earlier, and three days after the small interior and exterior fires, another fire engulfed and gutted the front house around 4 a.m. Saturday. The damage was estimated at $350,000.

The suspect was not arrested in Saturday’s fire. Pechin said investigators lacked the necessary grounds — probable cause — to make an arrest in that case and added that the investigation was ongoing.

He said the suspect has been seen at the property “many times,” but it was known if he was a squatter. Pechin previously said squatters were known to frequent the property.

Pechin said evidence led to the suspect’s arrest, but declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.

He said investigators were looking for a possible witness who was seen with the suspect Sunday.

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