Fire that damaged home of California politicians was arson, authorities conclude

·2 min read

SAN DIEGO — A fire that damaged the home of two California politicians earlier this month was purposefully set, authorities said Friday.

Former state legislator Lorena Gonzalez and San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher, both Democrats, were not injured, but the fire caused an estimated $36,000 in damage, authorities said.

San Diego police Lt. Adam Sharki said Friday that investigators have concluded the fire early on Jan. 12 was arson, but said he could not provide details.

The day of the fire, police Lt. Christian Sharp told NBC San Diego that neighbors called authorities around 4:20 a.m.

Fletcher said at the time that the couple were awoken by their smoke alarms and were able to safely evacuate, according to the station.

It's not clear if the couple's children were home at the time.

The blaze caused damage to the outside of the house and a vehicle, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokeswoman Mónica Muñoz said at the time.

Authorities have not mentioned any leads in the case or a motive for the fire.

“My family and I appreciate the commitment and dedication of all those involved in the investigation,” Fletcher said in a statement Friday.

While a legislator, Gonzalez successfully authored a bill that seeks to force gig worker companies like Uber and Lyft to treat their independent contractors as a full-on employees.

In 2020, when Elon Musk decried the state’s pandemic-related shutdowns, particularly as applied to his California Tesla factory, Gonzalez tweeted an expletive directed at Musk.

She announced Jan. 3 that she was resigning as the assemblywoman for the state's 80th district to take the top leadership position at the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

As chair of the board of supervisors, Fletcher criticized anti-vaccination mandate demonstrators who spoke at county meetings and he responded with a campaign to counteract Covid-19 misinformation.

In early January, Fletcher touted the board's passage of an ordinance that will require safe firearm storage and prohibit untraceable "ghost guns" to be distributed or created in the nation's fifth most populous county.

Crime Stoppers said in a statement that the city’s Metro Arson Strike Team is seeking help in identifying whoever is responsible. A $1,000 reward was offered.