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South Coast Man Arrested After String Of Arson Fires

Josuha Newton
Santa Barbara man arrested following multiple arson events over weekend.

Witnesses helped identify and catch the suspect.

Some alert citizens are being credited with helping to arrest a man accused of being a serial arsonist on the South Coast.

Santa Barbara Police received 911 calls Saturday from people reporting they had seen someone lighting fires in trash cans on Milpas Street. Someone then reported seeing a man trying to light a palm tree on fire on East Montecito Street.

An ambulance crew saw a man matching the general description of the arsonist in Eastside Park. They reported seeing him trying to light trash cans on fire in the park. They watched him until police arrived.

Michael Plascencia was arrested on two counts of arson and two counts of attempted arson. The 22-year-old Santa Barbara man is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

No serious damage was reported from the fires.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.