Man arrested on suspicion of setting six fires in Belmont

BELMONT – Police on Friday arrested a 32-year-old San Mateo man on suspicion of setting half a dozen fires in Belmont.

The man was booked into San Mateo County jail on charges of arson, resisting arrest and malicious mischief, the Belmont Police Department said in a news release.

An officer found the first of the six blazes burning at an abandoned gas station at Hill Street and El Camino Real around 3:40 a.m. Friday. Crews extinguished the fire, which an investigation revealed was likely intentionally set, according to police.

Officers then started to search for a man who was seen in the area before the blaze broke out.

During the search, a second fire was found burning on the north side of Ralston Avenue at Christian Drive, followed by a third in the center median of Highway 92 just west of Ralston Avenue.

An officer then saw the suspect set two additional blazes on the hillside of westbound Highway 92 at northbound Interstate 280, police said. The final fire was found burning in the center median of Highway 92 just west of Ralston Avenue.

Officers arrested the suspect on northbound I-280. Police said he was found with items that linked him to the fires. The suspect was taken to the police department, where he “became combative” and “had to be placed in restraints,” according to police.

The fire at the gas station caused “only minimal interior structural damage,” police said. No other property was damaged.

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Police said the blaze on the north side of Ralston Avenue at Christian Drive was the largest of the six and burned less than a quarter of an acre. No injuries were reported.

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