[Updated Thursday, August 2, 2018 | 8:20 a.m.] An arson suspect has been arrested after a vacant historic home scorched by a massive fire last year again went up in flames Wednesday night.
The fire was reported just before 10:30 p.m. at 30 W. Mountain Street, just west of Fair Oaks Avenue according to Pasadena Fire Department Deputy Chief Bryan Frieders.
“They found heavy smoke and flames coming from the second floor,” he said.
After conducting a “cursory search” of the building and finding no one inside, firefighters “disengaged and fought the fire from the outside,” Frieders said. “It was fully engulfed in flames.”
A second-alarm response drew about 50 firefighters to the scene, he said. They declared the blaze extinguished just before 11 p.m.
No injuries were reported.
Investigators determined the fire was intentionally set, Frieders said.
Thursday morning, City spokesperson Lisa Derderian released a statement which said a 38-year-old man later identified by police as Kristoffer Eugene Caldwell of Pasadena had been questioned in connection with the arson and arrested at the scene of the fire last night.
Earlier, officers interviewing witnesses at the scene described a possible suspect last seen in the building before it caught on fire.
One of the witnesses who was still at the scene saw the same subject from earlier standing in the crowd at the location and pointed him out to the Pasadena Fire Dept. Arson Investigator.
Field show-ups were done with other witnesses who positively identified the subject. He was arrested at the scene and transported to the jail.
The suspect has not been named by authorioties.
The same 131-year-old house — believed to be one of the oldest in the city — was the site of a fire in September. It caused about $1.4 million worth of damage.
Officials said at the time of the September fire that the home was vacant, and a witness reported being concerned about squatters staying there.
Frieders said investigators have not yet determined the cause of the first fire, in 2017.
The home was built in 1886 by Amos Wright. The Wright family have been longtime residents of Pasadena. In 1970, Justice Donald Wright was appointed by Ronald Reagan as the 24th Chief Justice of California. The Pasadena Public Library Central Branch’s auditorium is named the Donald R Wright Auditorium in his honor.
Booking records show Caldwell was being held at the Pasadena jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.