Man Questioned About Deadly California Wildfire
Authorities in Riverside County, Calif., are holding a "person of interest" in connection with last week's fatal wildfire.
In the past several months there have been a rash of wildfires purposely set in the rugged mountain passes west of Palm Springs. Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle says authorities had been keeping an eye on 37-year old Raymond Oyler.
On Monday police searched Oyler's home, and Tuesday they made the arrest. He is charged with two counts of arson linked to wildfires set last June, and two counts of possessing fire-making materials.
Oyler has not been charged in the deadly Esperanza Wildfire. Four U.S. Forest Service crew members were killed battling the blaze. A fifth firefighter died Tuesday.
Sheriff Doyle wouldn't say if there is a link between the earlier fires and last week's fire. Fifty investigators are working more than 300 leads called into a fire tip line. Doyle says a reward in the case now tops $500,000.
Residents who live in the small mountain communities where the fire destroyed 34 homes are hoping that the arsonist is caught and and punished. Several of the firefighters lived in the area and locals are heartbroken to lose the men.
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