Police arrest Smith River man for arson

By Michael Zogg, The Del Norte Triplicate , @DNTripSports

The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office arrested a Smith River resident accused of setting fire to a home on the 12800 block of S. Indian Road in Smith River on Saturday.

Dewayne Lopez, 34, of Smith River was arrested at 10:12 a.m. on Saturday several blocks away from the fire off of U.S. Highway 101.

Lopez initially ran when he saw sheriff's deputies before turning around and acting as though he was going to fight, sheriff's commander Bill Steven said. Lopez quickly relented and was taken into custody without major incident, Steven said.

Deputies reported that Lopez smelled like smoke and had soot on his face and hands. He also appeared to be intoxicated, Steven said.

Lopez spontaneously admitted to deputies that he had started the fire, Steven said.

The homeowner of the residence on S. Indian Road had previously given Lopez a cigarette and a book of matches. Later that morning, she received a call that her house was on fire, Steven said.

A neighbor noticed the flames and checked the residence. They saw the couch on fire and reportedly told Lopez to get out of the house before leaving to get help, Steven said.

Lopez was booked into the Del Norte County Jail for maliciously setting fire to property. Bail was set at $100,000. He was also arrested on an outstanding warrant issued on July 30 for failure to appear for a probation violation, adding $25,000 to the bail.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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