Arson confirmed in Cardinet fires

Cardinet fire - lead photo TLS_websiteA string of grassfires along the Cardinet Trail in Clayton earlier this month were deliberately set, says Vic Massenkoff, fire investigator for the Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

The first started in the late afternoon on July 7 in the grassy area across the creek from Safeway. The fire burned to within 100 feet of the apartments on Concord Boulevard.

Two days later, on July 9 at around 1 p.m., firefighters responded to another fire near the same location between the Westwood open space and Safeway. About 5 p.m. that same day, five more fires were set along the creek near the Lydia Lane park.

The fires were small, burning a total of no more than two acres. No homes were damaged, although several backing up to the Cardinet Trail were filled with smoke. Neighbors near the fire were out with garden hoses and chainsaws, removing low hanging branches near their properties. Clayton police helped beat back the flames until firefighters arrived.

According to Police Chief Chris Thorsen, the fires appear to be connected and all deliberately set. Early reports that someone had been arrested are incorrect, Thorsen said. One man was detained briefly during the July 9 fires but was not arrested. So far there are no suspects, and the fires are still under investigation.

Police and fire officials are asking anyone with information that could help in the investigation to call the CCFPD arson hotline at 1-866-502-7766 (1-866-50ARSON), or Clayton Police, 925-673-7350.