JOINT AGENCY PRESS RELEASE - TWO TRANSIENTS ARRESTED FOR BUILDING FIRE
TWO TRANSIENTS ARRESTED FOR BUILDING FIRE
RIVERSIDE, CA – On Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at approximately 4:46 a.m., the City of Riverside’s Public Safety Communications Center received reports of a structure fire occurring at 3460 Orange Street, located in the downtown neighborhood of Riverside. Firefighters arrived on scene within minutes and discovered an unoccupied building with smoke and fire coming from the roof. The entire first floor to this two-story building was boarded, so they forced open the boarded areas and initiated an aggressive fire attack.
Because the growth and development of the fire intensified with the potential of an imminent collapse of the structure, all fire personnel were removed from the interior and a defensive attack began with the goal of saving the surrounding buildings, including a nearby senior living facility. In total, this 3rd alarm fire included 5 chief officers, 5 engine companies, 3 ladder trucks, 1 rescue squad, 33 firefighters, 1 safety officer, 2 arson investigators, along with breathing support and mutual aid from Riverside County Fire, American Medical Response, City of Riverside Public Works and Public Utilities, and the Riverside Police Department.
Once the visible fire was extinguished, it still took several days before a complete search inside the building for potential victims could begin due to the unstableness of the structure and smoldering areas within. Riverside Police maintained a security presence around fire scene overnight during this time.
As part of the collaborative investigation, the Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Team and Fire Department’s Arson Investigators were able to develop information into the identities of two local transients who were believed to have been involved in setting this fire. On Wednesday, May 31st, both suspects were located and arrested in the 2900 block of Iowa Avenue.
41-year-old Isaac Gutierrez Avila of Riverside was later booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for arson and various misdemeanor warrants. He is still in custody held on $50,000 bail. 40-year-old Pasha Sadavandi of Riverside was also booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center as an accessory to arson, and still in custody held on $25,000 bail.
Almost 6 million gallons of water were used to mitigate this fire utilizing rotating engine crews for 16 hours straight. The building is owned by the City of Riverside and its estimated monetary loss is in the millions of dollars. The building has since been completely torn down.
This investigation is still ongoing and there are no further details to release at this time. Anyone with additional information regarding this building fire and arrests should contact Fire Captain Ray Mendoza at (951) 826-5640 or RBMendoza@RiversideCA.gov, or POP Officer Mike Smith at (951) 826-8715 or MikeSmith@RiversideCA.gov.
Those wishing to remain anonymous can email RPDTips@RiversideCA.gov, or download and use the Riverside Police Department’s “Atlas 1” mobile app by utilizing the “Send a Message” feature. Our app can be downloaded at:
- iOS Atlas 1 App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/atlas-1/id1509528933
- Android Atlas 1 App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.atlasone