Arson suspect sought in four suspect fires

Arson suspect sought in four suspect fires

Terry Lee Hill Jr. and surveillance photo

PALO ALTO – The Palo Alto Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying an arson suspect who is thought to have burned two vehicles and ignited numerous dumpster fires within minutes of each other.

According to the police, at about 2:00 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a report of a vehicle ablaze in the Cal Train parking lot located on the 600 block of Urban Lane. A second call came at 4:25 a.m., reporting a dumpster fire on the 100 block of Palo Alto Avenue.

The third call was received at 5:30 a.m., detailing that a fire had been started inside of a parking garage located on the 500 block of High Street. When the fire department arrived, they discovered smoldering remains where a fire had previously been lit. Just minutes away, a fourth call came in that a brush fire was burning along the bicycle path near the intersection of Homer Avenue and Alma Street.

During their investigation, Palo Alto Police Detectives, along with Palo Alto Fire Department arson investigators, deemed the fires suspicious.

According to police, “surveillance camera from a nearby property captured a male walking in the area minutes before the dumpster fire on Palo Alto Avenue began.” The video shows an adult male, wearing a beanie-type cap, a light-colored long sleeve shirt, dark-colored pants, and a backpack.

This individual is only being treated as a person of interest and is currently wanted for questioning.

Police are asking that if you recognize the suspect or have any information relevant to the investigation, please call the Palo Alto Police 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

UPDATE – On Saturday night, an officer on patrol in the area of the 600 block of Urban Lane saw someone “who bore a strong resemblance” to the person captured on the surveillance camera, and detained him. Further investigation resulted in the arrest of 23-year-old Terry Lee Hill Jr. of Palo Alto. The suspect was booked into jail  and charged with four felony counts of arson.

Arson suspect sought in four suspect fires was last modified: July 31st, 2017 by admin
Categories: Santa Clara

About Author

Amy Nilson

Amy L. Nilson is a freelance journalist specializing in criminal and environmental matters. She has over 5+years experience writing investigative reports, featured journal articles, and has taken on writing fiction and non-fiction prose. She writes for CrimeVoice,, and other news publications. She may be reached at for any comments or suggestions, you might have.