Linn County SO seeks info on 'vehicle of interest' after 8 fires in 2 hours
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A man arrested Sunday evening for using a Molotov cocktail to start a brush fire near an east Portland freeway was released from jail -- and was arrested again early Monday on charges of igniting six more fires in the same area.
Officers were dispatched around 4:30 p.m. Sunday to assist firefighters in the 9600 block of East Burnside Street. They saw a section of grass along the I-205 freeway was burning. Firefighters put out the fire, with no injuries or damage to structures.
About an hour later, officers were flagged down by a witness who pointed out the suspect in a nearby tent. Police say they arrested the man, who confirmed he lit the fire with the device. They also seized a plastic bottle with a wick as evidence.
The man, Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, was jailed on charges of reckless burning and second-degree disorderly conduct. Arson investigators were following up to see if other charges are warranted.
Shortly after 3:30 a.m. Monday, East Precinct officers were dispatched along with Portland firefighters to a report of several fires burning along the west side of I-205.
Police said Portland Fire and Rescue put out three of the blazes, while passing community members doused the other three, so all were caught early, with no injuries or structures burned.
Officers found Lopez walking along the freeway shoulder and arrested him, also seizing a lighter as evidence.
Lopez was taken to a hospital on a police officer hold for a mental health evaluation, and was issued citations for six more counts of reckless burning.
Meanwhile, in Linn County, Sheriff Jim Yon said his deputies were investigating several suspicious fires that began around 2:40 a.m. Monday.
Deputies and firefighters responded to eight small fires in the areas of Scott Mountain Road west of Sweet Home, Whiskey Butte Drive east of Sweet Home and Washburn Heights Drive near Brownsville, all within a two-hour period, Yon said. The fires remain under investigation.
A pickup truck described as a small white or silver 1990s Nissan “hard body” with a black canopy was seen in the area of one of the fires.
“This is a vehicle of interest and we are actively looking for it,” Yon said, asking anyone with information to call 541-812-2260.