Sketch released in Martin Fire case

June 15, 2008 6:48:37 PM PDT
Police released new details about a person of interest in the Martin Fire. Authorities say he's a young, white man between 18 and 22 years old. He stands about 5'8 to 5'11 inches tall with a thin build, and sandy blonde hair.

CAL FIRE arson investigators are not necessarily calling this individual a suspect. They just say he may have information on how this fire started.

As this investigation continues, more people are being let back into their homes, and many are grateful they have one to go back to.

Mary Jo Koch and her daughter Sunny came back to their home off Martin Road on Saturday night. Mary Jo has been here since the 50's.

Firefighters stopped the flames just about 60 feet from her front door.

"If I were going to build again I would not build a wood house but you know we built in the 70's everybody was building redwood houses with shake roofs," said Koch.

What the Koch home didn't have was a defensible fire area surrounding the home. That's an area cleared of flammable brush and timber. But she has one now courtesy of the California Department of Forestry Firefighters.

"Now we have our fire break which we will keep. we wont plant over the fire break at all," said Koch.

On Sunday, helicopters scanned the fire area with infrared satellite imaging attempting to find any hot spots that need to be attacked and extinguished.

"It's a very arduous task to go from spot to spot find them and put them out," said Bill Peters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention.

There are still 900 firefighters on scene. The fire destroyed three homes, eight outbuildings and charred some 520 acres since Wednesday afternoon, that's when the fire began and was fanned by high winds.

"Until I can guarantee I can send you home and not have a tree fall down on your house or your car were asking people to be patient," said Ron Lawton from CAL FIRE.

Ron Lawton has the job or going around and marking those dangerous trees. So far 140 trees have been downed in an attempt to keep residents safe.

CAL FIRE arson investigators want to identify a white man from 18-22 years old, between 5'8 and 5'11 with a thin built and sandy blond hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call the CAL FIRE arson hotline at 1-800-468-4404.

The good news now is that the fire is 90 percent contained and they expect 100 percent containment by Monday. Everyone is allowed to go back home.


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