Man accused of arson, attempted murder in Santa Rosa

Bay City News
Sunday, March 8, 2015

SANTA ROSA, Calif. -- One person was arrested for allegedly starting a house fire that left two people injured in Santa Rosa on Saturday evening, police and fire officials said.

Fire crews responded to a report of a structure fire in the 1300 block of Petaluma Hill Road shortly after 6 p.m., Battalion Chief Mark Basque said.

Firefighters arrived to find a large fire at the front of a one-story home, Basque said.

While working to extinguish the one-alarm blaze, a passerby told firefighters that two people with obvious burn-related injuries were down the street, he said.

Paramedics treated the two people, a man and a woman who had been in the home, for injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Basque said.

The pair was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment, according to Basque.

The blaze was under control by about 6:30 p.m., fire officials said.

The woman suffered from smoke inhalation and was later released from the hospital, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Marcus Sprague said.

The man was admitted for minor burns to his hands and face, the sergeant said.

An officer was patrolling the area when the fire started and interviewed the home's occupants, Sprague said.

The officer determined a resident set the fire on purpose after he allegedly threatened to kill the woman, Sprague said.

A police investigation led to the arrest of 41-year-old Samuel Alvarez Cel on suspicion of attempted murder and arson, according to Sprague.

Cel is being held in Sonoma County Jail in lieu of $1.1 million bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon, according to jail records.

The home sustained extensive heat and smoke damage from the fire, Basque said.

The fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage, according to Basque.

It appears the blaze started in the living room and damaged contents in three rooms, he said.

The home was not a total loss in the fire and was still structurally sound, Basque said.

"It's repairable but will take extensive work," he said.

All the residents of the home were displaced and received assistance either from family or friends, he said.