By GRAYCE MCCORMICK
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
Santa Barbara Police investigators arrested a suspected arsonist around midnight Friday morning between Loma Alta Drive and West Ortega Street following a large, fast-moving vegetation fire on the Mesa.
Victor Hernandez, 23, of Santa Barbara was arrested on scene for being under the influence of a controlled substance and taken into custody while the fire investigation continued, according to the police department’s Facebook page.
Following an interview by police detectives and fire investigators, it was determined that there were five separate fires in total Thursday night, and officials believe the Loma Fire was an act of arson.
Mr. Hernandez was booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of: arson of an inhabited dwelling (vegetation fire caused damage to a structure), five counts of general arson, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of narcotics. He’s currently being held on $2 million bail.
As of late Friday morning, the Loma fire is 70% contained and has been determined to be seven acres in size. Loma Alta Drive will remain closed today.
See the full story and more photos in Saturday’s News-Press.