SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
By Eric Heinz
Orange County Fire Authority investigators have determined the fire that caused significant damage to a two-story business complex at 3553 Camino Mira Costa was the result of arson, Capt. Larry Kurtz said on Wednesday.
The fire broke out at about 4:50 a.m. Tuesday at Timeless Ink, a tattoo shop in San Clemente, which OCFA has determined was the business targeted by whomever set the fire.
“This deliberately set fire could have endangered the lives of anyone who may have been inside the building, and it certainly could have endangered the lives of the OCFA personnel putting out the fire,” OCFA Capt. Larry Kurtz said.
Stuart Parsen, owner of Timeless Ink, said this fire has been devastating to him and his family.
“It’s the biggest nightmare in the world, without a doubt,” Parsen said.
Parsen said because he hadn’t held his insurance policy for a long enough period of time, he will not be covered by the company and has lost a substantial amount of value in inventory and structure damage. He said the tattoo artists who contract with him also lost a significant amount of inventory.
“I’m damn-near sure I’m pretty screwed,” said Parsen, a 26-year-old father with two young children.
No arrests or charges have been filed against anyone in the incident at this time. However, Parsen said he had received what he perceived as “threatening” phone messages from an individual prior to the fire. Parsen said he believed the individual once tried to “send a message” by dropping off a water bottle that was in the shape of a grenade.
The investigation is ongoing, and OCFA could not confirm the veracity of Parsen’s allegations at this time.
Despite the losses, Parsen said there has been an outpour of support from members of the San Clemente community.
Orange County Fire Authority said the fire was put out within 15 to 20 minutes, with 26 firefighters responding. There were no injuries in the incident, Kurtz said.
“It was really great aggressive work from the firefighters on scene,” Kurtz said. “This could have been much worse if they let it get any bigger.”
Firefighters had to saw through the roof to release the heart of the inferno and contain it, Kurtz said.
Kurtz said the businesses on the top floor cannot be occupied at this time, but he said he didn’t know the status of the businesses on the bottom floor at this time. The top floor of the complex also houses a branch of Farmers Insurance.
The building inspectors for the city and OCFA have yet to make a determination on the structure’s status.
Anyone with information regarding in fire is asked to contact the OCFA Investigation Section at 714.573.6720 or email@example.com. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to the Orange County Crime Stoppers confidential tip line at 1.855.8477.6227 (TIPS.OCCS) or through www.occrimestoppers.org.
Editor’s note: This is a developing story. More information will be provided when it becomes available. Stay tuned to San Clemente Times and follow us on Twitter at @SCTimesNews.