Vigilant City of Shasta Lake residents help stop potential arsonist

May 23, 2015 8:11 PM by Charlene Cheng

Two spot fires burned in the City of Shasta Lake this morning, threatening homes and the Valero gas station.

Thanks to some watchful neighbors, a suspect was detained and questioned by authorities.

"As I was walking down the street, I saw this guy kneel down on the bushes on my side of the road here so I told the police department there was a guy in the bushes there, so they started chasing after him until they detained him," said Cory Mathews, who lives in the area.

The first flames were reported just before 8:45 a.m. near Front Street and Shasta Way.

Francisco Martinez was out walking his dog when he spotted an object that appeared to be a fire bomb.

"I saw two guys walking down the street and it looked like one of the guys was holding a bottle with a rag in it, it looks like they threw it into here and started the fire," he said.

Crews arrived on scene and quickly put out the fires, while sheriff's deputies searched for a possible cause.

"You saw the guy running down the road down here and he tripped and fell, but he caught his fall and started running again, but just gave up because he was surrounded. It was pretty crazy," Martinez said.

Neighbors say they knew it was only a matter of time before these tall dry grasses would cause problems, and they've been trying for years to get someone to take care of it.

"I have talked to the Central Valley Fire Department, Shasta Lake Fire Department numerous times on the phone, but there was really nothing they could do about it," Irene Mazzini said.

This incident could be a wake-up call, as the North State heads into an anticipated busy fire season.

:I hope it wakes up the city, I hope this wakes everyone up. This isn't the only dry lot they have in the city. They just can't afford to have that out here," Mazzini said.

According to the Shasta County Sheriff's Office, the man that was detained has not been arrested at this time.

The case has been turned over to the Shasta Lake Fire Protection District for further investigation.


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