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Indio fire caused by arson

By John White, KESQ News Channel 3 News Anchor, jwhite@kesq.com
KESQ & CBS Local 2 News Staff, newsline3@kesq.com
Greg Lee, KESQ News Channel 3 & CBS Local 2 Reporter, glee@kesq.com
Published On: Mar 04 2014 11:50:25 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 06 2014 08:28:34 PM CST
Generic Fire
Indio -

Investigators determined a fire at a business in Indio on Tuesday was set intentionally.

Firefighters were called to Pacific Brake and Alignment to a 2-alarm fire at 83260 Indio Boulevard around 9:10 p.m. They were able to knock down the flames in about 15 minutes.  

There was no one in the building at the time of the fire, and nobody was injured.  People in the area say they're not surprised by the cause.  "This is been going on for a long time, there's a lot of homeless people here, come and set up their little homes," said a man who works in the area and wanted to remain anonymous.  "Then they leave all their trash behind." 

The man also said the area on Indio boulevard next to the railroad track, often attracts homeless people.  He also says, it's not the first damage he thinks they've caused. "They broke in, stole stuff out of it.  And some people were sleeping in there, then got kicked out." 

He says homeless people targeted a mobile home and when someone confronted them, they set it on fire. 

Jose Cota owns G & C Smog and Auto Repair next door.  He says he's had the same type of problems. "It is scary, it is scary," said Cota.  "Because you know, you might lose your business, because of these people who don't care." 

Cota put up this fence on his property to better secure his shop, but he still wants more done.  "I think we need to do something with the city, and the city needs to patrol this area more often," said Cota. 

A spokesman from Indio PD told us, they're aware of the homeless issues in the area, and ask people to call if they see problems.  Also, the department says it works with Union Pacific police to better deal with things like this. 

Meanwhile, business owners just want it to stop. "These people just come and set up their homes and leave trash and fire things up.  It needs attention." 

Investigators are asking for any witnesses who may have seen suspicious behavior to report the information. You can call the Arson Hotline at (800) 633-2836.