Alley fire spreads onto Cal Heights home, cause of fire under investigation

Courtesy Rosemary Ferrier via Nextdoor

Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) firefighters stopped a fire from burning down a Cal Heights garage on July 26 at the 3700 block of Lewis Avenue. No injuries were reported.

Rosemary Ferrier posted pictures of her half-charred garage on Nextdoor.com, a social networking service for neighborhoods, on Sunday, urging fellow neighbors to keep watch for suspicious behavior and fires in the alleys.

“LBFD suspects arson on this as the fire started at the base of our garage on the outside,” Ferrier wrote. “Please keep a close watch in your alleyways, day and night, and report any suspicious activity.”

LBFD Public Information Officer Jake Heflin told the Signal Tribune Monday the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but arson has not been ruled out.

The Signal Tribune reached out to Ferrier via Nextdoor for updates on the fire that spread onto her home.

“I don’t know very much yet, as the arson investigator still hasn’t reached out to me, and it’s been almost 72 hours,” she said. “I’m not sure what they’ll be able to find in terms of evidence now that the ignition spot has already been so tampered with. I’m highly frustrated by the whole situation at this point.”

Ferrier was not home when the fire erupted. She was in Huntington Beach with her family when she received a call from a 562 area code.

“We don’t know many people from Long Beach, so I didn’t pick up,” Ferrier said. “We thought it was a sales call.”

When she got home, and saw multiple fire trucks blocking the entrance to her street, the 562 number made more sense, Ferrier said. It was the fire department informing her that her garage caught fire.

There were two dogs in the main part of the house, but they were not injured Ferrier said.

“I was calm, worried about my dogs, but I was fine,” she said.

In April, the Signal Tribune reported that there had been about five fires between the 3400 and 3800 blocks of Gaviota Avenue.

The most recent blaze occured on April 18, when another Cal Heights family found out that their furniture that had been set out for pickup had caught fire. The incident caused their fence to burn down and some of their pets to die in the flames, according to local reports.

Heflin said alley fires in the Cal Heights neighborhood are being investigated, and that fire-location frequency plays a role in identifying an arson suspect or a cause.

Ferrier said she was concerned for her family’s safety following the fire.

“I have two kids that play in the room next to the garage,” she said. “The thought of someone coming back to finish the job is frightening.”

Heflin urged the public to contact the LBFD with tips to help with the ongoing investigations. LBFD Captain Bob Cheng is the lead fire investigator. Those with information can contact Cheng at (562) 570-2537.