Police in the small town of Weed, California arrested a suspect accused of starting a massive wildfire that burned 516 acres and destroyed 157 homes.
Ronald Beau Marshall, 24, was arrested Saturday morning and charged with felony arson of an inhabited structure or property, arson of a structure or forest, and arson of property of another, according to San Francisco Chronicle website SFGate.com. Marshall is reportedly being held at Siskiyou County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.
The fire broke out on the afternoon of September 15, and quickly spread to local businesses and homes, prompting the evacuation of most of the town. More than 1,000 firefighters worked to control the blaze, which completely destroyed two churches and partially burned a Weed elementary school.
“At the peak, essentially the entire town was evacuated,” fire spokesman Robert Foxworthy told NBC in an earlier report.
Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the Chronicle that the investigation and subsequent arrest “came to pass relatively quickly,” despite taking three weeks.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome, and our inspectors did a very good job,” McLean said.
Weed Police Department spokesman Sgt. Justin Mayberry told the Chronicle no further details on the arrest could be provided due to the ongoing investigation.