Santa Barbara- With local nighttime temperatures currently at near record seasonal lows, a local transient has been arrested and stands accused of setting a structural fire in an Eastside commercial building.
Andrew Gordon Easton, 41, is believed to have failed to properly extinguish flames with which he was warming himself during the early morning hours of January 3rd.
It was just noon that day when the Santa Barbara Police Department Combined Communications Center received a number of calls reporting a structural fire at a vacant auto dealership. A nearby SBPD Traffic Patrol unit responded and observed the former Montecito Motors building fully engulfed in flames that were, upon subsequent investigation, determined to have emanated from the outside perimeter of the building constructed of wood trim.
Further investigation and witness statements suggested that a known area transient had been observed earlier in the day extinguishing a small “warming fire”, as described by SBPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood in his statement to the media. Other witnesses reported to have smelled smoke as early as 9:00 a.m., “but assumed that it was the smell of chimney smoke from a nearby residence,” Harwood said.
Working on witness descriptions, area patrol officers sought and located Easton shortly after Santa Barbara County and Montecito Fire Suppression Teams had successfully extinguished the structural fire.
Based upon those witness reports, Easton was taken into custody and transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail where he was booked on charges of causing a structural fire without malice, with bail set at $20,000.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
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