As devastating fires rage across the West Coast, authorities have arrested at least two more people suspected of arson.
Washington troopers arrested Jeffrey Acord, 36, who allegedly attempted to set a fire along SR-167 in Puyallup last Wednesday. An off-duty police sergeant was traveling north on the road when he spotted a Chevrolet pickup truck parked on the shoulder of Route 167. The truck, reportedly driven by Acord, merged back onto the highway as Fife Police Sgt. Kevin approached in his vehicle.
“I soon noticed that there was a small fire starting to grow in the dry grass directly next to the location where the pickup truck had been stopped,” Sgt. Kevin said.
Kevin reported the fire and pulled over the truck. When he confronted Acord, the suspect began livestreaming his arrest on Facebook.
“The guy was live streaming (on Facebook) like he found the fire,” Trooper Ryan Burke said. “He was trying to make it look like he didn’t do it.”
The video has since been taken down. Acord was charged with second-degree arson and booked into Puyallup City Jail. He posted bail early the next morning.
Less than two hours after he posted bail, police responded to a break-in at a convenience store three blocks from the police station. Police say they recognized Acord on surveillance video and arrested him again on charges of second-degree burglary for allegedly kicking in a window covered with plywood and stealing drinks and snacks.
In Oregon, deputies arrested 44-year-old Jonathan Maas on suspicion of arson in the first degree. He is accused of attempting to start a fire in the woods near a disc golf course at Dexter State Recreation Area last week.
“The fire was in a wooded area and was approximately 5 feet in diameter before it was extinguished by two people playing frisbee golf in the area,” police said. “A man in a minivan was seen leaving the area shortly before the fire was discovered.”
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office investigated, and Maas was arrested last Thursday.
“While this fire was discovered and extinguished before it grew in size, the potential for the fire to have spread quickly was there,” the sheriff’s office said. “We are thankful for the community members who spotted and extinguished the fire before it was able to hurt anyone or cause any structure damage.”
Last week, authorities arrested four other individuals suspected of starting fires in California, Oregon, and Washington. One suspect, Domingo Lopez Jr., was arrested a second time after allegedly starting six more fires after his initial arrest.
The death toll from dozens of fires burning across the West Coast has reached 35, with fires burning approximately 5 million acres and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.