Police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of lighting at least a dozen fires in downtown San Jose, one of which gutted a Victorian home and almost killed an elderly couple.
Patrick William Brennan, 48, was booked on two counts of arson. Brennan is already a convicted serial arsonist and registered sex offender. He was arrested 15 years ago in connection with some hillside fires. Police say that this past week, Brennan torched several homes, a church portable unit—twice—and some businesses. He also allegedly sparked a five-alarm warehouse blaze, all within the same 2-square-mile neighborhood by San Jose State University and all between the hours of 2 and 5am.
Police had been following the suspect for a day before arresting him Wednesday night, they said.
Mayor Chuck Reed thanked downtown residents for their help passing out flyers and smoke alarms and helping firefighters and investigators alert people to the fire spree.
“I’d also like to thank the dedicated residents who came together to keep watch over their neighborhoods and help our officers and firefighters solve these horrible crimes,” Reed said. “The collaboration between our residents and public safety departments is one of the things that help make San Jose a great place to live, work and raise a family.”