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Grass fires behind Costco continue, even after arson arrests

Arson Fire, Walmart
Firefighters return to their truck after putting out a June 29 fire behind Walmart, later determined to have been intentionally set. // CH Sentinel

Updated June 30, 7:21 p.m.–
Fire crews were dispatched yet again to the field areas behind Costco and Walmart in Citrus Heights on Wednesday, responding to a grass and brush fire that was later determined by officials to have been “intentionally set.” At least seven fires have started in the area over the past six weeks and two 19-year-old suspects were arrested on June 12 in connection with at least one of the fires.

Fire Captain Andrew Whaley said the latest fire on June 29 was contained to a small 50-by-50-foot area in a difficult-to-access location, about 400 feet behind Walmart. Firefighters had to climb down a 10-foot creek bank and wade through the creek in order to access the fire, which originated around 12:30 p.m.

With no fire hydrants close by in the 47-acre nature preserve area behind Walmart, firefighters were assisted by the driver of a water tank truck who was working nearby and heard about the fire. Engine 427, a small off-road rig, was able to connect up with the water tanker to supply hundreds of gallons of water to douse the blaze in an area inaccessible by standard fire engine units.

[Related: Citrus Heights police arrest arson suspects in Costco field fires]

Metro Fire Spokeswoman Michelle Eidam later told the Sentinel that an investigator had determined the fire had been “intentionally set.”

Eidam said she did not know if the pair of arson suspects had been released from jail on bail, but said Metro Fire investigators are “definitely evaluating” whether the rash of recent fires in the area are connected.

[Also on The Sentinel: Citrus Heights Police Dept celebrates 10-year anniversary]

According to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s online inmate locator system, neither Randy Rath or Jordan Williams (the previously arrested arson suspects) are listed as currently in custody.

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