Domingo Lopez, Jr., 45, was arrested and taken into custody twice in one day for setting multiple fires.
A man arrested for throwing a Molotov cocktail and starting two brush fires along Interstate 205 in Portland reportedly started six more after being released from jail, according to the Portland police. The incident occurred around 4:35 p.m. on Sunday and officers were sent to the area to help Portland's Fire and Rescue with the small fire along a grassy section near the 9600 block of East Burnside, reports Oregon Live. Police were alerted about the miscreant an hour later by a witness, who told them that a man living in a nearby tent had lit the fire, which was quickly put out. Domingo Lopez, Jr., 45, was arrested and taken into custody, and he soon admitted to starting the fire, a statement said. He was also found with a plastic bottle with a burnt wick attached, police said.
Lopez Jr. was then booked on charges of reckless burning and disorderly conduct into the Multnomah County Detention Center before being released. However, at around 3:30 a.m. on the same day, police received reports of a fire in the area around Interstate 205 and found several blazes after arriving at the scene. Firefighters were quickly called in to put out the fire while the local community also helped take care of the rest. No major structures were reported damaged due to the scene. Police, meanwhile, found Lopez walking on the shoulder of the freeway hours later and proceeded to arrest him again. He was then taken to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation before police charged him with six more counts of reckless burning, in addition to the charges from a few hours prior.
The Portland Police Bureau said, “All were caught early. No one was injured and no structures were burnt." Lopez's arrest comes in the wake of several in the Washington, California, and Oregon which have been allegedly linked to wildfires that have engulfed parts of the country in recent weeks. The ongoing wildfire situation has led to at least 36 deaths across the three states and has been hailed as a major crisis. Of all the deaths recorded so far, reports USA Today, 25 have been reported in California, 10 have been reported in Oregon, while Washington has seen one death due to a host of fires beginning with a drought condition over a month ago. Apart from lives lost, the fires have also resulted in damage to houses and other property worth millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the FBI has denied the possible range of widespread arson for the rise in wildfires across much of the country. Apart from the fires in the three mentioned states, firefighters are also dealing with fires in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming, a National Interagency Fire Center said on Monday. So far, as many as 26,000 firefighters and support staff have been involved in fighting a total of 87 huge-scale fires that have burned through 4.6 acres of land in over 10 states.
UPDATE: Man arrested after admitting he used Molotov cocktail to start brush fire in Portland - KATU pic.twitter.com/5ebZVIZM6j— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) September 14, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has stepped up his attack on Donald Trump and condemned his opponent for not taking any responsibility for the raging fires. Biden said that having a climate-change denier could result in him burning down the entire country in the months leading up to the election. Biden pointed out that the tragedy required "leadership, not scapegoating,” before stating that “it’s clear we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America." The fires have also ramped up the talk of climate change yet again in the runup to the elections, with several experts weighing in on the impact of the fires.
Here we go, Start exposing these fools... they think they are so Smart.. we know they are Starting these fires. It’s very very obvious.. A Woman caught a man trying to set fire of here property at gun point today as well. They are all over.— Joshua Long (@JoshuaMLong99) September 14, 2020