Suspected looters arrested in wildfire aftermath

Sep 16, 2015 11:47 AM by News Staff

Authorities have arrested at least two suspects with burned out safes in their vehicles as they investigate reports of looting in the wake of Northern California's devastating wildfire.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports Wednesday that Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said he didn't have further details about the arrests.

He said deputies are unable to stand guard at individual homes. He characterized Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake as most vulnerable because that's where the most homes were left standing while residents remained evacuated.

Police are being diligent about trying to protect homes.

Dozens of California Highway Patrol officers and law enforcement officers from outside agencies patrolled in Hidden Valley Lake, where an estimated 100 homes were lost and residents remained evacuated.

7:25 a.m.

Fire crews are gaining ground against a devastating fire that has destroyed hundreds of homes.

Cal Fire says the blaze in Lake County, was 30 percent contained Wednesday morning.

The wildfire, which started Saturday, has charred more than 109 square miles and destroyed at least 585 homes. Nine thousand more structures are threatened.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. But the San Francisco Chronicle reports officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spent Tuesday surveying a burned-out shed next to a two-story home.

The house was unscathed, but the fire had charred a hill south of the home after possibly igniting in or near the small shed, which was charred and blackened on one side, the newspaper reports.


7 a.m.

A 69-year-old man whose home was destroyed in the fire raging in Northern California has been reported missing by his family.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that authorities said Leonard Neft's burned car was found Tuesday evening on the route he would have taken to try to escape. He lived in the small town of Anderson Springs and his house was destroyed.

Neft, a former police reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, last spoke with his family on Saturday evening, as the fires swept through the area.

His wife, Adela Neft, told the paper she repeatedly called her husband Saturday to tell him to leave, but he said he didn't think the fire was coming toward him. He was alone in the home. Authorities say cadaver dogs will be sent in to search.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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