Witnessed at scene of fire along SR-299E in Bella Vista, man arrested

UPDATED: Sunday, June 6, 7:53 p.m., With suspect’s booking information, other details.

BELLA VISTA, Calif. — A man captured on film at the scene of a vegetation fire in Bella Vista was reportedly arrested by Arson Investigators earlier this morning, Sunday, June 6. Witnesses at the scene told SCNS that firefighters made quick work putting out the fire, before the man was arrested just west of the scene.

Today’s arrest comes on the heels of a fire that swept through Burney’s west-end of town the previous afternoon. That vegetation fire burned approximately 20.5 acres and forced the immediate mandatory evacuation of 40 to 45 homes. Firefighters spent about four and a half hours extinguishing the blaze, the cause of which remains under investigation. The fire did not cause any structure damage and no injuries were reported.

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Firefighters were alerted to the situation around 10 a.m., after a passing motorist saw the fire burning along SR-299E, near Woodman Lane. Reports of the fire triggered a full wildland fire response, according to CAL FIRE Shasta-Trinity Unit Fire Captain Darren Stewart, who later reported the fire burned less than a half-acre.

After stopping their vehicle near the burning fire, the witness who called 911 managed to capture cell phone footage of a man who was seen coming out of the forest line toward the highway on a bicycle.

A man on a bicycle who appeared to be carrying a gasoline container, was reportedly arrested at the scene of a suspicious fire that occurred in Bella Vista, off SR-299E near Woodman Lane. Reader submitted image

During the short video, which was later shared to social media, the shirtless bicyclist was seen with what appeared to be a gasoline canister in his hand. As the video continues, another man appeared to be trying to extinguish the small blaze, while the gas can-toting man sat on his bicycle along the side of the highway, watching the growing flames.

A witness at the scene later told SCNS the man was detained by a Fire Prevention Arson Investigator and subsequently arrested. Online jail records indicate Cal Fire arrested Paul Jacob Warner, 38. He was booked into Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of arson to forest land and arson during a state of emergency. He remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail or bond.

SEE RELATED: UPDATE: Firefighters halt Burney fire at 20.5 acres, all evacuations lifted

Contacted for more information of the arrest, Cal Fire had not yet gotten back with further details as of this report.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information becomes available.



Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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