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As Pacific Coast Fires Rage, Portland Police Catch Man Starting Brush Fires With Molotov Cocktails

PORTLAND, OR – A suspect arrested last evening for starting a brush fire was arrested again after he started 6 more small fires.  On Monday, September 14, 2020 at 3:37a.m., East Precinct officers were dispatched with Portland Fire and Rescue to a report of multiple fires burning along the west side of the I-205 freeway. Portland Fire and Rescue extinguished three of them while passing community members put out the other three. All were caught early. No one was injured and no structures were burnt. Officers located Domingo Lopez, Junior walking along the shoulder and arrested him. They seized a lighter as evidence.

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Internet rumors and reports of Antifa starting wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington thus far have been unfounded.  The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department posted a message to quell those rumors.

“Remember when we said rumors make this already difficult incident even harder? Rumors spread just like wildfire and now our 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON,” the department said. “THIS IS NOT TRUE! Unfortunately, people are spreading this rumor and it is causing problems.”

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Lopez was transported to a hospital on a Police Officer Hold for a mental health evaluation. He was issued citations for 6 additional counts of Reckless Burning.

On Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 4:35p.m., East Precinct officers were dispatched to assist Portland Fire and Rescue with a brush fire in the 9600 block of East Burnside Street. Officers saw that a section of grass along the I-205 freeway was burning. Firefighters extinguished the fire. No one was injured and no structures were damaged.

About an hour later, East officers were flagged down by a witness who pointed out the suspect in a nearby tent. Officers arrested the suspect, who confirmed he lit the fire with the device.

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Officers seized a plastic bottle with a wick as evidence (photos).

Officers booked Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Reckless Burning and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree. Arson investigators are also doing follow-up to see if other charges are warranted.

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