According to Henry Wofford, a public information officer for the Napa County Police Department, the man with burns to his body and non-life-threatening injuries was taken into custody and is a person interested in the Newell fire.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Newell’s fire, which began Monday afternoon, had been contained 60 percent and burned 132 acres, according to the CalFire website (https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/). For the first time, a person taken into custody was reported to have escaped from a car at about 18:15 on Monday.
“On Monday afternoon, shortly after the start of the fire, American Canyon residents reported that a man had run out of his car, a 2000 Honda Accord four-door, which was parked by the road around 5000 Newell Drive,” Wofford said. “When the deputies approached him, the man confessed that he was involved in the fire … His release is not scheduled, but officers who want to talk to him over time are guarding the door.”
The car was stolen on Monday and belongs to a Vallejo resident.
Wofford went on to say that the arrested man, whose name has not been released, is of interest, but has not yet been arrested and is not officially registered. Cal Fire is investigating and does not rule out arson as the cause of the fire. The Napa County Sheriff’s Department is investigating only part of the car theft case.
Shortly after the start of the fire, American Canyon Road was closed until around midnight. In the end, an evacuation warning was issued about 30 minutes after the start of the fire, but was withdrawn shortly after 8 p.m. that same night. The warning was addressed to residents living east of Broadway Street, off Highway 29.
Vallejo Fire Department helped contain the Newell fire by dispatching Engines 25 and 525 to aid the American Canyon Fire Department. These brigades returned from the incident on Tuesday morning.
“Dry and windy conditions certainly do not improve the situation,” said Vallejo firefighter and spokesman Aaron Klauber on Tuesday. “This makes fire behavior more serious and unpredictable.”