Alum Stephen Petersen, Cleared of Arson Charges, Holds Benefit for Victims

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
INSIDE BAY AREA -- A man arrested but later cleared of charges that he started arson fires that destroyed or damaged nearly a dozen Alameda homes and businesses in September is planning to hold a benefit concert to help victims. Stephen Petersen, a 27-year-old Alameda folk musician and recent San Francisco State grad, said he has no ill will toward the city and that police were simply “trying to do their jobs.” The September 28 fires — eight in all set to trash bins and apartment buildings — ripped through Alameda’s Park Street business district, causing an estimated $3 million in damage. It was the largest such incident in Alameda in at least 20 years, according to Alameda police Lieutenant Jill Ottaviano.