According to the San Francisco Chronicle, developers in the East Bay are responding to suspected arson attacks by hiring extra security guards and adding cameras to job sites. Four unfinished housing projects have burned in the past two years in the neighborhood and two more blazes were sparked earlier this week. The extra measures are costing thousands of dollars a month and include spraying lumber with a fire suppressant. City Ventures lost 55 townhomes to the flames and is one of the developers now fighting back.

Madison Park Financial Corp, the developer of a partially built housing complex 10 blocks away where another, smaller blaze burned early Tuesday, had hired four guards and paid $60,000 per month on security for its project, but someone still broke in, according to Simon Chen, Madison Park’s chief financial officer. The 124-unit project at 3266 Peralta St. previously had a chain-link fence and black fabric stretching from the ground to the roof of the building, but the fence was replaced by a smaller one as construction neared completion.

“That left us exposed to these kinds of attacks,” said Jim Nuti, vice president of DCI Construction, the general contractor for the project. The fire died on its own without spreading to the vulnerable wood frame. Authorities are still investigating the causes of both fires. But at the Peralta Street site, Madison Park found an abandoned hammer, match, gas canister and rag in a bathroom.

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