Suspect arrested for arson
SANTA BARBARA — Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a suspected arsonist in the Ward Incident fire.
On Wednesday at approximately 11:40 p.m., deputies responded with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department to a report of a fire in the brush area near the bike path between the south end of Ward Drive and More Ranch Road. When deputies arrived, a witness provided information about a possible suspect in the area.
While deputies warned residents in the surrounding area of the fire, additional deputies searched for the suspect who reportedly and intentionally started the fire, said Raquel Zick, the Sheriff’s Office public information officer.
At approximately 11:57 p.m., deputies located and detained a person matching the suspect’s description provided by a witness on the bike path near Patterson Road. The suspect, 30-year-old Jose Martin Alvarez-Castro of Santa Barbara, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of obstructing a peace officer (misdemeanor), arson (felony), and possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanor).
He is being held at the main jail in Santa Barbara on $20,000 bail.
Sheriff’s deputies remained on scene until County Fire confirmed that the evacuation warning that was issued for the More Ranch Road area was lifted. A Santa Barbara County fire investigator will be conducting the full investigation into this incident, Ms. Zick said.
— Katherine Zehnder