Two vacant homes, went up in flames overnight. The first home erupted in a blaze of orange flames at around 8:30 p.m. in south Redding along Court Street. The second home was scorched on Curtis Lane in Anderson at about midnight.
In both cases, fire investigators said transients staying on the properties started the fires.
Redding Fire Investigator Patrick O’Connor said the home on Court Street is “a hub for criminal activity.”
After firefighters knocked down Tuesday night’s flames, needles and pipes used for drugs along with bolt cutters were found on the Court Street property, which investigators said has been vacant for years.
O’Connor said those staying at the home were squatting, living there illegally, and the fire was human caused.
The burned out home sits next to an open lot. This section of southern Redding is known by neighbors as a high activity area for the homeless.
“We in this area have, in this southern part of Court Street, and more specifically the house that caught on fire last night has had an incredible increase in activity,” said Steve Westlake, the co-owner of Maxim Physical Therapy which is located two doors down from the burned home.
A second fire overnight ignited in Anderson, where CALFIRE investigators say they homeowner hasn’t been seen by neighbors in about three weeks.
In that time, fire investigators believe transients have been living on the property just off Dersch Road.
When fire crews arrived at around midnight, fire fighters say about six people bolted from the property and haven’t been seen since.
CALFIRE, Anderson and Cottonwood fire crews worked together to battle the blaze which gutted the home on Curtis Lane.
As of Wednesday afternoon the Anderson house fire is still under investigation.
O’Connor said if you are concerned about an abandoned home in your neighborhood, and the possibility of homeless making the property their own, contact the city with your safety concerns.