SANTA CRUZ — Firebombs were intentionally set on a porch and in a car belonging to two UC Santa Cruz researchers in separate incidents early Saturday in what police have classified as acts of domestic terrorism.

Police are calling one of the bombings an attempted homicide.

In one incident, a faculty member's home on Village Circle off High Street was intentionally firebombed about 5:43 a.m., according to police. The residence belonged to UCSC researcher David Feldheim, a neuroscientist who works with mice. He was one of 13 researchers listed in threatening animal rights pamphlets found Tuesday in a downtown coffee shop.

In the second incident about the same time, a car parked in a faculty member's driveway on Dickens Way on campus also was firebombed, police said.

The family was home at the time of the firebombing and the victims, including two young children, escaped on a fire ladder from a second-story window, according to police. Injuries were suffered by family members during the escape but police did not release details. That bombing is being considered an attempted homicide because the family was home, police said.

The car that burned on Dickens Way also belonged to a UCSC researcher, but not a researcher listed in the pamphlet who also lives on Dickens Way, said Santa Cruz police Capt. Steve Clark.

Clark declined to say whether the researcher who owns the burned car works with animals or if the wrong car was bombed. UCSC spokesman Jim Burns also declined to comment. That person's name has not been released by police or UCSC.

Santa Cruz Police investigators, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and UCSC police are conducting a joint investigation, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses. The case has been turned over to the FBI.

Saturday afternoon, police officers and firefighters were helping restore electricity and inspect the Village Circle home.

"The firemen are here. We're trying to get the electricity restored. This is really horrible," said Sofie Salama on Saturday, who lives in the home with Feldheim.

City leaders were quick to condemn the bombings.

"It's unconscionable that any reasonable person would consider this an acceptable tactic to get their point across," said Santa Cruz Police Chief Howard Skerry in a statement. "We are working hard with the other agencies and committing all available resources to follow all possible leads. We urge anyone with information to come forward."

Paula Goldman, who lives next door to the house on Village Circle, said she woke up when she heard a fire alarm going off, looked out the window and saw the front door of the townhouse on fire. Goldman ran outside, grabbed a hose and doused the flames, she said.

"We know it was premeditated. It was pretty obvious," said her husband, Joel Goldman.

Joel Goldman said he walked out of his home a few months ago to find the townhouse vandalized with trash and graffiti, and he heard someone yelling that the vandals would be back.

"With what happened previously and what happened last week with the pamphlets, we just assumed" that Saturday's firebombing was related to animal research, Joel Goldman said.

Neighbor Andrea Legg, 24, works as an adviser in UCSC's Jack Baskin School of Engineering and said the bombing didn't scare her personally, but she feared for other UC researchers.

Both she and her roommate, Marcail MacEwan, 22, said they were "disgusted" with the day's events.

"It's terrorism. As far as I'm concerned, they're being terrorized," MacEwan said.

This appears to be the latest in a string of incidents targeting UCSC researchers and others in Santa Cruz.

Fliers identifying 13 UCSC scientists, some of whom use mice, fruit flies and other nonprimate creatures in their research, were discovered at a downtown coffee shop Tuesday. The fliers say, "Animal abusers everywhere beware; we know where you live; we know where you work; we will never back down until you end your abuse." The names, home addresses, home phone numbers and photos of researchers were published on the fliers.

In February, masked demonstrators rattled the front door of another UCSC researcher, whose husband chased the intruders away while the researcher protected her children in the back of the Westside home.

Hours after that attempted home invasion, authorities raided a Riverside Avenue house where several students live. No arrests have been made, and police say the hard drive of a laptop confiscated at the house had been cleaned several times, increasing suspicion among investigators.

Those students are still considered "people of interest," Clark said. He also said Saturday's bombings are likely related to an attempted firebombing of a police car in March 2007, and the firebombing of an electrical closet six years ago on Delaware Avenue near Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc.

Clark would not say what kind of bombs were used on Saturday, but he said this isn't the first time Santa Cruz police have seen them.

Last year, arsonists filled a milk jug with flammable liquid, inserted a wick on the top and placed it under a police car. In that case, the wick was lit but went out before the bomb blew up.

Clark said no suspects have been identified but officers are working on a number of leads. They also are interviewing those who saw the firebombings happen, and they are investigating the fliers as criminal activity.

"These unconscionable acts put the researchers, their families — including their children — and their neighbors in grave danger," UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal said in the statement Saturday. "These are odious assaults on individuals and on the principles of free inquiry by which we live."

The campus is taking the incident "extremely seriously" and is working with law enforcement agencies to identify perpetrators and taking steps to support researchers, Blumenthal said in the statement.

"The personal safety and security of all our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority," Blumenthal said in the statement.

All the involved agencies are taking additional steps to protect the safety of the other people listed in the animal rights pamphlets, according to police.

Anyone with information about the incident may call police investigators at 831-420-5820. To leave anonymous information regarding the incidents, call the tip line at 831-420-5995.

Correspondent Corrine Speckert and MediaNews Staff Writer Mary Anne Ostrom contributed to this story.

Reach G. Bookwalter at 831-706-3286.