TRUCKEE, Calif. — Police have arrested a man on suspicion of arson in connection with a small blaze that broke out Sunday afternoon in town.
Christopher Scott Hazen, 45, of New York City, was arrested and booked into Nevada County jail in Truckee on Sunday on suspicion of unlawfully causing a fire. He faces a charge of arson, and his bail was set at $2,500, according to a Nevada County Booking Report.
According to an online report from the Truckee Police Department, officers and Truckee Fire Protection District crews responded at about 3 p.m. Sunday to a vegetation fire behind the Old Gateway business complex on Donner Pass Road.
Upon arrival, the fire had consumed a 20 foot by 100 foot area of forested land. The fire was quickly contained and extinguished.
According to police, evidence at the scene suggested the fire originated from a small campfire; witnesses provided a description of Hazen, who they felt was responsible for the campfire. Hazen was later located; during an interview, he “admitted to starting the fire,” according to the report.
Hazen is a transient, said Truckee Police Capt. Rob Leftwich in a Monday phone interview. An investigation into the incident is under way to determine if Hazen intentionally started the brush fire.
Calfire has jurisdiction over the land that caught fire and is leading the investigation. The arson charge could stick, Leftwich said, or Calfire could downgrade it to a case of negligence if it’s determined the fire was sparked accidentally.