Police in Portland, Oregon, say they arrested a man Sunday who admitted to lighting a brush fire using a Molotov cocktail, and arrested the same suspect hours later following his release from custody after he allegedly set six more fires.
The Portland Police Bureau issued a news release stating that officers arrested Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, on Sunday afternoon after a witness pointed to him as the person who used a Molotov cocktail to set a fire along Interstate-205 freeway that officers had just helped fire officials extinguish. Lopez “confirmed he lit the fire with the device,” according to police.
Officers recovered a plastic bottle with a wick and seized it as evidence, posting a photo of it in their report.
Lopez was charged with reckless burning and disorderly conduct in the second degree for his Sunday arrest, and arson investigators are probing to determine whether further charges may be brought in that incident.
At 3:37 a.m. the next day, officers and Portland Fire and Rescue were dispatched again “to a report of multiple fires burning along the west side of the I-205 freeway.”
Police reported in a second news release:
Portland Fire and Rescue extinguished three of them while passing community members put out the other three. All were caught early. No one was injured and no structures were burnt. Officers located Domingo Lopez, Junior walking along the shoulder and arrested him. They seized a lighter as evidence.
Lopez was charged with six additional counts of reckless burning in connection to his Monday arrest.
Fox News noted that “wildfires, of course, have been burning more than one million acres in Oregon.”
The Oregonian reported that as of Saturday, seven people had been confirmed dead from wildfires in the state and dozens more were missing in a catastrophe that officials warn could be a “mass fatality incident.”
In a separate report Monday, The Oregonian noted:
Law enforcement, including Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts, have tried to bat down unfounded rumors of coordinated arson plans and widespread looting in evacuated areas, saying there was no evidence to back them up. Sheriff’s offices across the state, along with the FBI, have roundly debunked the claims.
Roberts said during a news conference Sunday, “There’s just a lot of misinformation about folks trying to set fires. I want to reassure everybody that we are on this and if you see anything suspicious, I encourage you to call us.”