UPDATE 6:45 p.m. October 10, 2018 - The woman found dead in the house fire has been identified as 86 year old Barcie Arlene Miller. Also, Secret Witness of Shasta County is now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of suspect(s) in the Fire at Miller's home, as well as other suspicious fires in the Cottonwood Area. You can give your tip anonymously to Secret Witness at (530 243-2319 or www.scsecretwitness.com
COTTONWOOD, Calif. - A house fire in Cottonwood has left one woman dead.
The Shasta County Sheriff's Office said the fire was suspicious and the death is now being investigating as a homicide.
The fire broke out on Willow Street just before 5 a.m. Sunday and that's where firefighters discovered an elderly female dead inside the home.
About 30 minutes later, a small shed caught fire less than a half mile away on Hickory Street.
Investigators say both fires are suspicious and are being treated as possible acts of arson.
Downtown resident Jesika Baldwin said that it is heartbreaking to see homes in her neighborhood destroyed.
“This isn't just some spot fires on some land out in Cottonwood,” Baldwin said. “It's taken multiple homes, homes that people built, people were raised in, multiple generations.”
Several other fires have been reported in the downtown Cottonwood area in the last few months which authorities have said are also suspicious in nature. They have not said whether the previous fires are related.
But the Shasta County Arson Task Force and the Shasta County Sheriff's Department say they’re actively investigating leads to identify who is responsible for these fires.
A private citizen has offered a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.
Anyone with any information or surveillance video is asked to contact the Shasta County Sheriff's Office.