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South Coast Fire Which Damaged Two Homes Being Called Arson

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)
A Thursday night fire forced the evacuation of dozens of homes in Santa Barbara, and damaged two. Investigators now say it was the result of arson

Man arrested, facing six arson counts

It was a brush fire which threatened dozens of South Coast homes, eventually damaging two of them. Investigators now say the fire was arson.

The fast moving inferno started at around 9 Thursday night on what’s known as TV Hill in Santa Barbara, just a few blocks south of Highway 101. Some homes had to be evacuated, but firefighters got the upper hand on the blaze in about two hours.

Santa Barbara City Fire investigators say they determined that five separate fires had been set in the area. While investigating at around midnight, they saw someone climbing down the hill, and trying to hide in brush. The investigators and police officers were able to stop the man, identified as Victor Hernandez.

After questioning, they arrested the 23-year-old Santa Barbara man on six counts of arson, as well as two drug related charges.

The fire was originally believed to have been about 20 acres in size, but after mapping during the daylight hours it was determined to be seven acres.