BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It was a crippling blow for a local business owner. It’s been a year of fires linked to homelessness … and now a local merchant thinks it may have happened again. First responders were called to Bakersfield Motors, near Sumner Street and Union Avenue, Thursday afternoon around 5:30. That’s when Peter Munguia watched his business go up in flames.
“I saw the fire by the train tracks, and it started going over my back wall. It just went into the roof,” said Munguia, owner of Bakersfield Motors. “In two minutes, everything was gone.”
Munguia says he believes he knows what sparked the fire
“It makes me mad, because I’ve been complaining about people living in the back in the tents making fires,” said Munguia. “It makes me mad it has to get to this point.”
The Bakersfield Fire Department calling arson investigators to the scene.
“When we have a greater alarm fire like that, it’s not necessarily that arson was suspected,” said Kevin Alberton, Deputy Fire Chief for the Bakersfield Fire Dept. “It’s just a standard operating procedure for us to bring in our resident experts on investigating and determining the cause.”
This isn’t the only fire local first responders are investigating. County fire is still getting to the bottom of a bizarre string of tree fires in Northeast Bakersfield last month … meanwhile city fire says it’s tackling a house on Quincy Street in Bakersfield last week. First responders say thinking ahead can keep you and your home or business safe.
“Making sure your building is up to fire code,” said Albertson. “Making sure we have extinguishers, alerting structures like fire alarms to alert occupants to get out of the structure, and have a safe way of egress.”
No one was injured in the Bakersfield Motors fire, and the cause is still under investigation.