Palo Alto police are searching for two teenage boys suspected of setting fire to a beach towel at Jordan Middle School Sunday evening (Aug. 15), the fourth blaze at a Palo Alto public school or park since July 7, Palo Alto police Officer Mariana Villaescusa said.
The teenagers allegedly fled from Jordan after a bicyclist raced over to stomp out the flames. The bicyclist relayed details about what he witnessed to a neighbor who had also come to help extinguish the blaze. The bicyclist then rode off and the neighbor called police at 7:49 p.m., Villaescusa said.
Villaescusa said there was no danger of the isolated fire spreading to nearby buildings. There were no accelerants, such as gasoline, used on the towel, she said.
The suspects were described as white males between 15 and 18 years old, standing about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with one wearing a red shirt and the other wearing a gray shirt. Police have not determined if the fire is related to other school and park fires reported in the last month and a half, Villaescusa said.
A play structure was set aflame on July 7 at Hoover Park, a wood-and-plastic fire was started at Ohlone Elementary School on July 25 and a Dumpster was torched at Gunn High School on Aug. 3. A $2,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in relation to the Hoover Park fire.