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The State

June 30, 1989

A transient suspected of being the so-called "Stairway Arsonist" was arrested in San Jose on charges of setting fire to seven aging downtown buildings and three vehicles. According to arson investigators, Guillermo Enrique Mendez, 23, a convicted robber wanted for parole violations, admitted he set the recent fires because he was "mad at the world." Investigators said the fires in buildings were started by lighting old newspapers and debris placed under stairwells. A four-alarm blaze in the turn-of-the-century San Carlos Hotel left 35 people homeless.

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