Woman in Custody Accused of Causing an Explosion at a Homeless Encampment
SAUSALITO — A woman down on her luck remains in custody, pending a preliminary court hearing on February 24, resulting from an explosion at a homeless encampment. It incinerated two tents and prompted the city to declare a local state of emergency.
Sausalito police responded February 9, following a loud explosion heard throughout much of the city. The blast occurred shortly before 7:15 p.m.
An investigation revealed that a propane tank exploded inside a tent. An accompanying fire destroyed two tents. No injuries of persons living at the encampment were reported.
Debra E. Hazelwood, 61, who had a tent at the encampment was detained, questioned, and arrested at 9:18 p.m. Hazelwood was booked into Marin County Jail, where she is now being housed in lieu of $150,000 bond.
In a prepared statement Sausalito police said. “She admitted to using a cigarette lighter to set two tents on fire.” One of the tents contained a propane tank and the second nearby tent belonged to her.
Hazelwood faces one charge for arson of structure PC 451 (C), while the case against her is reviewed. She formerly lived in Mill Valley before becoming homeless.
The Marinship Park homeless encampment has a reputation for violence and illicit drug use. The city’s emergency declaration states “extreme peril” exists in the area surrounding the park used for overnight sleeping.
The encampment has since been moved from an open field to fenced tennis courts. Security guards are presently monitoring homeless persons living on the shoreline of Richardson Bay.
However, some homeless persons were apparently forced to leave the area.