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Arson Arrest Made In Bear Fire Investigation

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office says arson caused the Bear Fire in Boulder Creek.  The same man accused of looting an evacuated home during the fire now faces arson charges.  

During a news conference Friday at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Jim Hart says they arrested Marlon Coy.

The 54-year-old Boulder Creek man allegedly started the fire near 475 Dianes Way after having a dispute with someone at that property.    The home there burned down. 

“Rarely have I seen more reckless actions than those committed by this depraved man. If not for heroic efforts of first responders, he could have easily been facing murder charges today,” says Sheriff Hart.

The Bear Fire started around 10:30pm on Monday, October 16th.  CalFire got it fully contained by Thursday, October 26th

It burned 391 acres, destroyed two homes and injured 13 firefighters, one remains in the hospital.  It also destroyed 4 outbuildings, 5 RVs and 17 other vehicles.    

Thomas Bird leaves near where the fire started.  His home is one of 150 that had to be evacuated.  Bird calls the arrest a relief and says this fire is a reminder for people who live in the woods to be prepared.

“We have defensible space, plenty of water supply for the firefighters.  In fact, they ran out of water saving our house, and had to use our supply to finish the jobs,” says Bird.

Marlon Coy faces eight arson charges plus additional charges for the alleged burglary during the fire.  He will appear in court early next week. 

Krista joined KAZU in 2007. She is an award winning journalist with more than a decade of broadcast experience. Her stories have won regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and honors from the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association. Prior to working at KAZU, Krista reported in Sacramento for Capital Public Radio and at television stations in Iowa. Like KAZU listeners, Krista appreciates the in-depth, long form stories that are unique to public radio. She's pleased to continue that tradition in the Monterey Bay Area.
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