Photo: scene of Duffy’s fire (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)
SAN RAFAEL— A man arrested on suspicion of setting six fires remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bond. The suspect is accused of setting his own apartment ablaze and five other fires in the Canal District.
James T. Duffy, 42 of San Rafael, was booked into Marin County Jail on May 7. Duffy remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Reports of fires started at 5:17 a.m. First it was a garbage dumpster fire, which spread to a vehicle, parked near Canal and Hoag streets.
Another dumpster fire was reported on Mill Street at 5:24 a.m. It was followed by two debris fires on Canal Street at 5:28 a.m. and 5:31 a.m.
At 5:45 a.m., San Rafael PD responded to a call for a welfare check of Duffy at a Canal Street apartment complex. A neighbor reported a bang coming from inside Duffy’s apartment, followed by the smell of smoke.
Duffy was seen running away and residents of the apartment complex were evacuated, while firefighters extinguished that fire.
The sixth fire was reported at 5:49 a.m., another dumpster fire, outside a supermarket at 330 Bellam Avenue.
Several agencies responded and investigated the fires. A command center was set up in the Canal District. An aerial drone from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to help search for Duffy.
At 11:45 a.m., officers from Central Marin Police Authority located Duffy at 673 Magnolia Avenue in Larkspur. He was detained until San Rafael officers took custody of him.
Duffy faces five counts of felony arson and one count of felony arson to an inhabited structure. In April, Duffy was arrested twice for being under the influence of a controlled substance. In March, Duffy was arrested for public intoxication.