A 42-year-old man has been charged with felony arson of a commercial structure for allegedly setting a suspicious fire that burned administrative officers for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland three weeks ago, authorities said today.
John Fitzgibbons has already been arraigned on the arson charge and is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday for a bail motion and to possibly enter a plea, according to court records.
He’s currently in custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $85,000 bail.
Oakland fire officials said the fire was reported at about 2:35 a.m. on April 4 at a building at 670 53rd St. that Children’s used as office space.
The blaze caused extensive damage to the second floor and attic and caused an estimated $150,000 in damage, fire officials said.
No one was in the office when the fire broke out and no injuries were reported.
Oakland fire officials said they received several tips from callers with information about the blaze and investigators were able to identify Fitzgibbons as the suspect.
They said Fitzgibbons had been arrested on April 20th for violating a court order and was already in custody when he was charged with felony arson.
Fire investigator Maria Sabatini said in a statement, “We could not have identified this person without help from the community.”
She said, “Public safety is everyone’s responsibility. The residents of this City clearly want to do their part to keep Oakland safe and we appreciate it.”
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