He Used An Accelerant To Set Fire To Encampment
SEASIDE—Seaside Police Detectives have made an arrest in a March 13th incident at campsite at the Laguna Grande Park when a fire engulfed a campsite, severely burning its occupants. Detectives arrested 52-year-old Steven Mark Palmer after an investigation proved he used an accelerant to set fire to the campsite.
On Friday, March 13, firefighters from the Seaside Fire Department, along with firefighters from the Monterey Fire Department, responded to a fire at a campsite in the Laguna Grande Park. The park is frequently used by the homeless. When firefighters and Seaside Police arrived they found three camp occupants who were severely burned by the fire.
Witnesses at the park stated that they did not know what caused the fire. Information was limited, but investigators determined that an accelerant was the primary cause of the fire that completely engulfed the entire campsite.
The investigation was taken over by the Seaside Police Department on March 18; they took only six days to come up with evidence that Palmer, who was also burnt in the fire, had used the accelerant to light his victim on fire. There was a second man, who was asleep next to the intended victim, who sustained burns as well.
Palmer was arrested and booked into the Monterey County Jail on charges including two counts of attempted murder, two counts of arson causing great bodily injury, two counts of assault with a caustic chemical, and two counts of arson to an inhabited dwelling.
Though sometimes identified as a transient, Palmer reported his home address as a house right across Virgin Avenue, which runs behind the park on the southwest side. He may, however, have been reporting an address nearby to identify the park as his home.
Seaside Police records show Palmer was arrested on February 10 on an outstanding warrant when he was found with 54-year-old Henry Birner in a vehicle at the Laguna Grande Park. Birner was arrested for possession of crystal methamphetamine.
Palmer’s bail has been set at 2,460,000.00 dollars.