Potentially suspicious house fire set at home of San Diego supervisor, labor leader

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, speaks with Supervisor Nathan Fletcher after a press conference at Petco Park, February 8, 2021 in San Diego, California, during a visit to the Petco Park Vaccination Supersite. (Sandy Huffaker/POOL/AFP)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, speaks with Supervisor Nathan Fletcher after a press conference at Petco Park, February 8, 2021 in San Diego, California, during a visit to the Petco Park Vaccination Supersite. (Sandy Huffaker/POOL/AFP)

Police are treating a fire at the home of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors chair and a prominent labor leader as suspicious

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said he and his wife, Lorena Gonzalez, and their family were awoken by smoke alarms around 4.a.m. Wednesday.

“The front of our house was engulfed in flames, but we were able to safely evacuate out another door,” Fletcher said in a statement.

The fire caused about $30,000 of damage to the house and another $6,000 in damage to a vehicle parked in front, said Monica Muñoz, spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

San Diego police Sgt. Rick Pechin told The San Diego Union-Tribune that investigators believe the fire was suspicious in nature but would not say how or where the fire started. He said the Metro Arson Strike Team, which is comprised of police and fire investigators, is handling the investigation.

Police officers were quickly on the scene and firefighters saved the house, Fletcher said.

The fire also burned an American flag outside the front of the home, according to Fletcher, a former Marine who served two combat tours.

“Our family is safe and for us, that is all that matters,” he said.

The Democratic supervisor has been an outspoken proponent of the county’s COVID-19 policies and has advocated for business restrictions during peak periods of the pandemic, drawing fervent support and criticism. He has often led the county’s pandemic news briefings and fielded questions about state restrictions, to some extent making him a leading face of the government response.

Public comments made during the county supervisor meetings have featured angry yelling over public health restrictions.

Gonzalez has also drawn strong reactions from supporters and critics. As a Democratic state assemblywoman, she successfully pushed for her ambitious labor laws, including a gig worker law. She sharply criticized Elon Musk after the founder of Tesla Inc. threatened to move company headquarters out of California amid reopening restrictions. Tesla later announced it was moving to Texas.

Last week, Gonzalez resigned from the Assembly to become leader of the California Labor Federation.

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