The first incident began at 4:35 p.m. on Sunday, September 13, when the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) was called by Portland Fire & Rescue (PF & R) to assist them in putting out a fire in the 9600 block of East Burnside Street, which straddles the border between the Southeast and Northeast Portland neighborhoods. PPB said nobody was injured and no structures were damaged by the fires.
Around an hour after the fire was extinguished, PPB officers were flagged down by a person who witnessed the incident. The witness pointed the officers towards a suspect, a man living in a nearby tent.
The suspect was identified as Domingo Lopez, Jr. When confronted by PPB officers, he admitted to lighting the fire using a Molotov cocktail. When police searched his belongings, they seized a plastic bottle with a wick as evidence. Lopez was booked into the jail in the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office but was released soon after. (Related: Oregon State Police officers in Portland deputized as federal officers to avoid having rioters repeatedly released by Left-wing Soros-funded prosecutors.)
Just hours after Lopez was released, at 3:37 a.m. on Monday morning, officers were once again called in by PF & R to assist after more fires were reported. This time, six small fires were found burning along the west side of I-205. Firefighters put out three while passing volunteers from the community extinguished the other three. Nobody was injured, and no structures were damaged.
Moments later, officers found Lopez walking along the shoulder of the freeway and arrested him. He had a lighter on him, which was seized as evidence.
The PPB transported Lopez to a hospital on a police officer hold, where he will be undergoing a mental health evaluation. Lopez is currently being charged with seven counts of reckless burning and one count of second-degree disorderly conduct. Officers stated that arson investigators are doing follow-ups to determine if Lopez was responsible for setting any other fires in the area.
Listen to this episode of the Health Ranger Report, as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger talks about how liberal and Democrat-run cities like Portland are beginning to collapse under the weight of several crises, like the pandemic, the endless engineered rioting, the arson attacks, surging crime rates and ineffective governance.
Despite the fact that Lopez is the fourth person in Oregon to be arrested in connection with starting a fire, state and local authorities, including police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are still insisting that many of the massive wildfires were started by arsonists.
In one incident, Michael Jarrod Bakkela, 41, is currently accused of starting a major fire that has damaged several towns in Jackson County in southwestern Oregon. Bakkela was arrested and charged with 15 counts of criminal mischief, 14 counts of reckless endangerment and two counts of arson.
The fire is considered to be one of two possible origins for the Almeda Drive Fire, which burned over 3,200 acres in Jackson County, ravaged two small towns and destroyed over 2,350 homes.
The fire started on September 8 and was contained and stabilized by September 15. Search and rescue teams are currently assessing the damage as well as any potential hazards.
On Monday, September 14, the Oregon State Fire Marshal's office said that the wildfires in the state were some of the worst they had ever seen.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Department, in a press release, said that a witness saw Bakkela, a resident of Phoenix, light a fire behind their house in northwestern Phoenix. Many of the residents who saw Bakkela start the fire were forced to flee their homes as the inferno started spreading.
When JCSO deputies, along with Oregon State Police officers, arrived at the scene of the arson, Bakkela was standing close to a large fire that was threatening several nearby homes. He was arrested and taken to the Jackson County Jail on Tuesday for possessing methamphetamine. He remains in jail on charges of criminal mischief and arson.
The JCSO has confirmed that at least two people have been found dead in connection to the wildfire that Bakkela started. Fifty other people still remain unaccounted for.
While the Almeda Drive Fire may be contained and the suspected arsonist that started it is behind bars, the South Obenchain Fire is still spreading through Jackson County. The fire started on September 8 at around 2 a.m., five miles east of the town of Eagle Point. As of 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is the size of 32,513 acres and is only 25 percent contained.
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