Already battling massive Carr Fire, officials now dealing with residential and business looting
REDDING — As the enormous Carr Fire enters its seventh day with all available area resources stretched to their limits, police and sheriff’s officials are now reporting that residential and business looting has become a problem.
Three arrests for looting were reported as of late last night, including one alleged looter who was clad in all-camouflage clothing and carrying a number of illegal weapons as well as a loaded firearm.
More than 3,388 firefighters continue their valiant efforts to bring the more than 95,350 acre blaze under control, amid scorching, triple-digit temperatures.
LEADING THE SCNS HEADLINES:
So far, the blaze has resulted in six confirmed deaths, including 37-year-old, City of Redding Firefighter Jeremy Stoke and 81-year-old, civilian bulldozer operator, Ray Smith, of Pollock Pines.
Three of those killed in the fire were a 70-year-old great-grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, and her two great-grandchildren, James and Emily Roberts, ages 5 and 4.
After being reported as missing after the fire swept through Redding, officials discovered the trio deceased inside a residence. Officials found the great-grandmother’s body trying to shield her two great-grandchildren from the inferno with a wet blanket.
The sixth victim has not been publicly identified, but according to sources familiar with the victim, the man refused to evacuate when ordered to do so, choosing instead to shelter in place inside his residence.
According to Cal Fire, the massive blaze has consumed 874 homes and structures, with an additional 175 structures damaged.
334 engines, 59 fire crews, 17 helicopters, 68 dozers, and 65 water tenders are now assisting in the huge firefighting effort, under the Unified Command of Cal Fire Shasta-Trinity Unit and Whiskeytown National Park.
As of the most recent official update, released by Cal Fire officials at 8 p.m. last night, the fire is now seventeen percent contained.
“Over the course of the last two days the Redding Police Department, along with numerous other law enforcement agencies, have been conducting patrols in areas evacuated due to the Carr Fire,” Redding PD officials explained in a social media release. “The security patrols are focused on protecting citizens’ homes, businesses and property from looting and theft.”
Officials have announced the arrests of three looters, including one camouflage clad and weapons-toting man apprehended in the Lake Blvd. area and two caught looting homes of electronic equipment in the area of Quartz Hill and Mcleod Roads. One of the looters, Michael Stuebgen, was found clad in all-camouflage clothing and was carrying several illegal weapons.
Although numerous reports of possible looting had been trickling in since the Carr Fire roared into W. Redding Thursday night, July 26, Redding PD was the first to report apprehending a looter late Saturday evening, July 28.
The alleged looter, later identified as 45-year-old, Redding resident, Mitchell Bryan Stuebgen, was apprehended by Redding PD officers around 10:45 p.m. He was located in a portion of Lake Blvd that had previously been evacuated due to the fire.
“Stuebgen was wearing camouflaged clothing and admitted to knowing the area was under evacuation,” Redding PD explained. “A search of his person found him to be in possession of a loaded handgun, a billy club, nunchakus and a concealed dagger.”
“Stuebgen admitted to being a methamphetamine addict and is prohibited from possessing a firearm and ammunition,” said officials. He was eventually booked into Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of carrying a loaded concealed firearm, being in possession of prohibited weapons, being a drug addict in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and being inside an evacuated area.
The following afternoon, Sunday, July 29, officials from numerous area allied law enforcement agencies were continuing their roving patrols covering the countless neighborhoods evacuated because of the fire.
Shortly before 1:30 p.m., officers from Chico Police Department were in the 11000 block of of Quartz Hill Road when they were flagged down by a homeowner. The victim reported he had just returned to his residence after being on another part of his property for about an hour.
After entering his residence, he discovered “fresh shoe prints and water inside his residence,” Shasta County Sheriff’s Sergeant Kyle Wallace explained in a social media release.
Based on the circumstances, Shasta County sheriff’s deputies, Chico PD officers, and other allied agencies responded to the area to begin a systematic search of all evacuated homes in the area.
As officials checked the area and surrounding neighborhoods, they located a residence on McLeod with its front door damaged and forced open.
Officers checked inside the home and located several electronic items that were “stacked and staged” by the front door, according to Wallace, who explained the various items did not appear to have been placed there by the owners.
“Based on the close proximity of the crimes it was believed the subjects may be on foot in the area,” said Wallace. “Officers responded to 16812 McLeod Road because it was known from criminal activities in the past.”
When officials arrived at the notorious McLeod residence, they contacted, Jack Fannin, 19, and Jade Ball, 25. Both are Redding residents. While officials were at the residence, “evidence was located that tied both Ball and Fannin to the burglaries,” according to Wallace.
Claiming the couple had been in search of water, Fannin reportedly admitted to deputies that he and Ball entered at least three residences Sunday and Monday.
Based on the circumstances, Fannin and Ball were arrested and booked into Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of looting in an evacuated area, entering a known disaster area, and conspiracy to comment a felony.
Redding PD, Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, and other area allied law enforcement agencies assisting during the Carr Fire have said they plan to continue “aggressively patrolling” all evacuated areas in the City of Redding as well as other areas affected by the fire.
A Cal Fire release indicated firefighters today focused on building control lines despite ongoing “extreme” fire conditions, including “shifting winds, dry fuels, and steep drainages” that contributed to the fire’s rapid growth.
Although Red Flag warnings and a heat advisory are still in effect for the area, fire crews will continue to asses the number of damaged structures as conditions allow.
Cal Fire also announced yesterday a community meeting for the public scheduled for 4 p.m., Monday, July 30, at the Redding Civic Center.
Confirmed Carr Fire deaths:
- 37-year-old, Jeremy Stoke, of Redding – City of Redding Firefighter
- 81-year-old, Ray Smith, of Pollock Pines – Bulldozer Operator
- 70-year-old, Melody Bledsoe – Great Grandmother
- 5-year-old, James Roberts
- 4-year-old Emily Roberts
- (Unidentified) The sixth victim has not been publicly identified, but according to sources familiar with the victim, he refused to evacuate when ordered to do so, choosing instead to shelter in place inside his residence.
Complete list of Evacuation Centers, per Cal Fire, as of Sunday, July 29, at 8 p.m.:
- Shasta College
11555 Old Oregon Trail in Redding
- Simpson University
2211 College View Drive in Redding
- Cross Point Community Church
2960 Hartnell Ave in Redding
- Trinity High School
321 Victory Lane Weaverville, CA 96093
- Foothill High School
9773 Deschutes Road Palo Cedro, CA 96003
Large Animal Evacuation Center:
- Tehama County Fairgrounds
650 Antelope Blvd Red Bluff, CA 96080
Small Animal Evacuation Center:
- Haven Humane
Anderson Factory Outlet
1816 CA-273 Anderson, CA 96007
Complete list of road closures, per Cal Fire, as of Sunday, July 29, at 8 p.m.:
Ashby Road & Lake Blvd
Beltline at Oasis
Benton & Quartz Hill Road
Buckhorn Summit at SR 299 (Eastbound) Buenaventura at Keswick
Buenventura & Hwy 299
Caterpillar at Market
Clear Creek Road & Cloverdale Lane Hwy 299 at Buckhorn Summit
Elk Dr at Carnelian
Eureka Way at Court Street
Gas Point at Clear Creek Rd
Gas Point Road and Foster Road
Happy Valley Trail and Hawthorn Road
Hwy 299 at Buckhorn Summit
Iron Mountain Rd at SR 299
Keswick Dam Boulevard at Keswick Dam Facility
Keswick Dam Road & Quartz Hill Road
Lake at Keswick
Lake at Oasis
Lake at Quartz Hill
Lower Springs Rd at Swasey Drive
Market at Lake
North Market South of Lake
North Point at Redwood
Oasis Road & Lake Blvd
Placer at Buenaventura
Placer at Mule Town
Plantina Road and Rainbow Lake Road Plantina Road and Placer Road Planting Road & Gas Point Road Railroad at Buenaventura
Ridge Lane at SR 299
Riviera at Howard
SR 299 from Buenaventura Boulevard to Buckhorn Summit
SR-273 at Bonnyville
SR-273 at Branstetter
SR-273 at Breslauer
SR-273 at Clear Creek
SR-273 at Kenyon
SR-273 at Westside Rd
Sway Drive & Placer Road
Texas Springs at Placer
Texas Springs Road & Honeybee Road
Click here to view full Cal Fire incident fact sheet regarding Carr Fire
For information on evacuation notifications visit http://www.shascom911.com
Click for the most up to date evacuation orders and advisories at the Shasta County Sheriff’s page.
Sign up to receive news releases and fact sheets for the Carr Fire.
Carr Fire Community Meeting Notice July 30, 2018 at 4 p.m.
Carr Fire Information Line (530) 225-2510
Carr Fire Media Line (530) 448-2466
Carr Fire Fatality Information Line (530) 734-8762
This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 – soon to be 16 – grandchildren.