Dental offices in Fontana appear to be the target of an arsonist or group of arsonists, who investigators said have been linked to at least four dental office fires within blocks of one another.
The latest fire hit Western Dental Office in the 10100 block of Sierra Avenue (map). A passerby noticed flames and smoke billowing from the structure.
"The office is a total loss; dental chairs and equipment are in ruins. In fact, the total loss in here is over a million dollars,” said Mike Horton of the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
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The now four fires share similar start times, entry methods and igniting devices, Horton said. A $1,000 reward is being offered in the cases.
An office down the street was under construction when fire ripped through the building. Two days later, another office burned.
“It was completely black in there," said Carolina Cuba, who works at one of the offices. "Everything was melted.”
The office reopened after a few weeks.
“We couldn’t call anybody to cancel the appointments because the phones weren’t working,” Cuba said. “A lot of patients would come in. Some of them were in shock.”
A few days after that fire, another office that has since reopened went up in flames.
A motive has not yet been determined.
"It doesn’t appear to be a burglary attempt," Horton said. “Arson happens for several reasons - psychological, money gain, revenge.”
Horton said the crimes are being taken very seriously, especially considering the danger firefighters face when they respond.
Anyone with information is asked to call the arson hotline at 1-800-47-ARSON.