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Serial arsonist arrested for lighting several fires in Chico

Chico Police say a serial arsonist was arrested for lighting several fires around the west Chico area Saturday night.

Posted: Jun 14, 2020 10:02 AM
Updated: Jun 14, 2020 10:06 AM

CHICO, Calif. - Chico Police say a serial arsonist was arrested for lighting several fires around the west Chico area Saturday night.

Police say this occurred on Saturday, June 13 just before 10 p.m., when the Chico Police Dispatch Center received a call of a structure fire at the US Post Office in downtown Chico.

Officials say CPD Officers and Chico Fire arrived and found a trash fire on the side of the US Post Office building. It was quickly extinguished. Soon thereafter, CPD Dispatch received another call of a trash fire nearby.

Police say a witness observed a man starting several fires in the area of Walnut Street and W. 2nd Street in west Chico. Chico Fire responded to extinguish several fires and Chico Police Officers, assisted by Officers from the CSU Chico Police Department, flooded the area in an attempt to locate the arsonist.

Police say a man, identified as 40-year-old Justin Zillyette, was contacted by a CPD officer, matching the description of the Arsonist. He was positively identified as the person who had lit several fires in the area west of Walnut Street.

Earlier the same day, Chico Fire say they responded to the Laxson Auditorium on the CSU Chico campus regarding a fire at the ticket office.

Officers from the CSU Chico Police department developed information the fire was intentionally caused and had a suspect description. Their investigation determined that Zillyette was also the person who started the fire at the Laxson Auditorium.

Officials say that as a result of the assistance from alert community members and a prompt response from Chico Fire, the damage in all the fires was minimal.

Police say the suspect, Justin Zillyette is an Arson registrant who has failed to register in Butte County. He was arrested for four counts of Arson and one count of failing to register as an Arson Registrant.

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Heavy rain and gusty south winds are on tap for the start of your Friday, and we'll have scattered showers and the potential for thunderstorms Friday afternoon and evening. A stronger storm system will track into northern California this weekend, and will bring major travel impacts from Sunday through early next week.
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