Newell Fire: 150-acre blaze in American Canyon being investigated as arson

J.R. Stone Image
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Newell Fire in American Canyon fire being investigated as arson
Napa County Sheriff Oscar Ortiz says arson may be to blame for a fire that led to evacuations in American Canyon.

AMERICAN CANYON, Calif. (KGO) -- Napa County Sheriff Oscar Ortiz says arson may be to blame for a fire that led to evacuations in American Canyon. This comes after 150 acres burned near Newell Drive and Greenwood Ranch. The fire was in sight of American Canyon High School but no structures burned. A 26-year-old man suffering from burns has been detained.

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At one point in the evening a long line of flames could be seen burning on a hilltop in American Canyon. Winds pushed this fire towards not only homes but American Canyon High School.

"I walked out my door and as soon as I walked out my door there was a whole hill on fire," says Alfons McCoy of American Canyon.

"I saw a big ball of smoke and it was orange and black in color too," says Heinrick Devera who lives in a nearby neighborhood.

Firefighters are responding to a vegetation fire burning in Napa County Monday evening.

As of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the blaze was 60% contained, up from 50% containment last night.

The fire led to evacuation warnings to those in some 3,000 structures.

"We're dealing with high winds right now so it definitely poses a challenge for us," said Erick Hernandez of CalFire.

While some residents living in the area left, others were ready to leave if flames came any closer.

"I had a bag ready to go with all my 'need to haves'," said Glenn Devera.

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As for the cause, this is being investigated as an arson. Sheriff Ortiz talked about what it looked like when officials arrived.

"When officers responded to the fire and got on scene they did find a car that was on fire, in an area that a car doesn't belong, off road by a water tower in a creek area," said the sheriff.

Ortiz says that car was stolen in Vallejo but would not give any more information on what led up to it burning.

Neighbors we talked with say they feel fortunate that these flames didn't get any closer to their homes.

"We commend all those firefighters that came from other cities. We saw firefighters from Napa, Suisan, Cordelia, so we just we're thankful," says Heinrick Devera.