Fire That Ravaged Costa Mesa, CA, Print Shop, and Two Other Businesses, Not an Accident

COSTA MESA—June 20, 2014—Earlier in the year, three small businesses located in a strip mall based here were firebombed. They included a clothing shop, carpet store and commercial printing shop. When C.T. Printing owner Carlos Tapia, 65, arrived to work on that February morning, he found firefighters putting out the fire that destroyed his business, reported the Orange County Register.

“The smell—it was just pitch black; you couldn’t breathe inside,” Tapia told the newspaper. “I couldn’t stand looking at the damage. I just couldn’t take it.”

Months later, the fire was reported as arson, and according to the Register, fire investigators said Tapia’s printing shop and the two other businesses in the 14-unit shopping center appeared to have been firebombed in three separate incidents in January and February.

The firefighters and the business owners do not have any clues at this time. According to the paper, the arsonist or arsonists smashed or forced open small windows that overlook an alleyway behind the stores and dropped incendiary devices inside. The damages from the February fires were estimated at $25,000.

“We’re confident they were all intentionally set, but we don’t have any leads right now,” Costa Mesa fire Capt. Shawn Brosamer, the fires’ lead investigator, told the Register. “Whether any of the fires are connected or not, we don’t know.”