ARSONIST CAUGHT AFTER FOUR FIRES SET, FIFTH ATTEMPTED IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

ARSONIST CAUGHT AFTER FOUR FIRES SET, FIFTH ATTEMPTED IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

A Twentynine Palms man is behind bars, accused of setting four fires and attempting a fifth arson in Twentynine Palms since Saturday. Sheriff arson investigators say that John Kerr, 32, started his arson spree Saturday night when he set the Palms Baptist Mission House in the 5200 block of Adobe Road on fire about 10 p.m. Two rooms and the kitchen suffered heavy smoke damage, and the rest of the house suffered heat damage. Then on Monday, investigators say that Kerr kept firefighters extremely busy, setting three fires, and attempting a fourth, all within two hours. Monday’s first fire was a garage fire that was called in at 1:14 p.m. in the 73400 block of Desert Trail Avenue. When firefighters arrived, they found the garage partially involved in flames. They were able to contain the fire within 30 minutes. While firefighters were waiting for investigators from the arson unit to arrive, a second fire was called in at 2:48 p.m., in the 4700 block of Adobe Road at the Spirit and Truth Worship Center. A 5th-wheel recreational vehicle in the back of the church was burning, and ended up being a total loss. Kerr is also a suspect in vandalizing the church Saturday night by breaking its windows. Then five minutes after the second fire, a third fire was reported at 2:53 p.m. in the 4300 block of Adobe Road. A garage behind a massage parlor was on fire. Evidence at the scene led deputies into the open desert southwest of Adobe and Indian Trail, where they located and arrested John Kerr on suspicion of arson. Further investigation led deputies to a vacant building near Adobe and Didsbury, where they suspect Kerr was going to start another fire. Firefighters from the Combat Center and the County assisted Twentynine Palms Fire Department in battling the blazes. John Kerr was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $25,000. Sergeant Jason Radeleff of the Sheriff’s Department told Z107.7 News, “I’m glad we found him because I don’t think he would have stopped.”

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