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Jan 11, 2016

PG Arsonist Detained After Fiery Rampage

Simeon Alvarez

A string of fires in a span of two hours deliberately set by an arsonist kept Punta Gorda police and firefighters busy on Sunday morning.  Around one-thirty a.m., local authorities responded to a vehicle on fire on Cayetano Street.  There, they observed a team of firemen attempting to douse flames emanating from the engine of a red Chevy Colorado pickup.  The vehicle, property of thirty-nine-year-old Merida Chan, was torched sometime after Chan and her boyfriend had retired for the night.  Approximately one hour later, an elderly man would report that a wicker chair on the veranda of his Vernon Street residence was also on fire.  Sometime around two-thirty a.m., sixty-three-year-old Victor Caliz was roused out of his slumber by his granddaughter who told him that someone was inside their yard.  When he got up to check, he noticed that his couch was up in flames.  The crime spree would continue well into the predawn hours of Sunday when police would once again respond to a fire near the corners of Vernon and Front streets.  The thatched roof of a restaurant, owned by Jamaican businessman Ignatius Longville, had been set on fire.  He reported that he went to bed earlier that night and was awaken by the smell of smoke.  Upon further checks, the sixty-year-old proprietor found that the roof of his establishment was burning.  While fire officials responded to that incident, another call came in shortly before four o’clock.  This time, an Isuzu D-Max was completely engulfed in flames.  According to fifty-four-year-old American artist, Elizabeth Kearns, she had parked her vehicle in her yard, directly in front of her house and later was alerted by the sounds of sirens and barking dogs.  When she checked she also noticed that her vehicle had been totally damaged.  Superintendent Simeon Alvarez told News Five today that they have since arrested Kaleem Chun whom they believed was responsible for the arson.

 

Supt. Simeon Alvarez, O.C., Punta Gorda Police

“That same morning, sometime around 1:25 a.m. and 3:40 a.m., police and the fire department responded to four suspected arsons within Punta Gorda Town of which two vehicles were destroyed by fire, the thatch [roof] of a restaurant was also destroyed and a sofa chair on a wooden verandah was also destroyed by fire.  With the response of the fire department, they managed to contain the fire and had it under control.  At this time we have one person in custody by the name of Kaleem Chun, twenty-two-years-old of a Punta Gorda Town address.  He had admitted to committing three of the arsons of which he will be charged sometime today and will be taken before the magistrate’s court tomorrow.”

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