ENCINITAS — Authorities have indicted a 20-year-old Encinitas man on charges that he intentionally set fires that damaged two church buildings and a middle school office.
Tyler Carender was arrested July 5 at his home on Island View Drive, which is in the neighborhood where the three fires caused more than $500,000 in damage, authorities with the U.S. Attorney Southern District office said. He is being charged in federal court, according to an unsealed federal indictment.
The string of fires began during the early morning hours of Oct. 22, 2016, when a fire destroyed a building at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church known as the “Friendship House,” a counseling and youth center on the church’s campus. Authorities estimated the damage at $200,000. Fire crews were able to save the main building.
One week later on Oct. 29, 2016, a fire in the main office building at Oak Crest Middle School — a block north of the church — caused the office’s roof and ceiling to partially collapse. The two-alarm blaze at the campus on Balour Drive caused $300,000 in damage.
Finally, the suspected arsonist returned to the church on Nov. 12, 2016, when fire crews responded to a report of a fire inside the church’s preschool building. That fire caused $34,000 in damage.
Much like the first incident, the fire occurred during the early morning hours, so no people were inside at the time.
During the final incident, an unidentified man was seen running away from the church, leading sheriff’s arson investigators to suspect the fire may have been set intentionally.
Deputies used a sheriff’s dog to search for the suspect, but no one was caught.
A sealed indictment was issued June 16 and Carender was formally indicted July 5 after his arrest, according to court records.