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Park visitors stop grass fire, lead police to arson suspect

Quick-thinking park visitors extinguished a small grass fire using their bottled water and reported a suspected arsonist Friday morning at Wildcat Canyon Regional Park near Richmond, authorities said.

A park user called police about 10 a.m. to report that a man, reportedly using a lighter, lit grass on fire near the Belgium Trail at the park, according to the East Bay Regional Park District police.

East Bay Regional Park District Park visitors saved the day at Wildcat Canyon Regional Park near Richmond, Calif. when they put out a grass fire with their water bottles and led police to a suspect they say ignited the small fire with a lighter on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (Map courtesy of East Bay Regional Park District)

Park visitors quickly doused the small fire with their water and gave police a description of the suspect.

Police found the suspect in the park, where he was arrested on suspicion of arson. He was booked into Martinez Jail.

Fire crews also responded to keep an eye on the still smoldering grass, police said.

Parks police said in a post on Facebook:

“Thanks to the community members who acted quickly to put out the fire and provided excellent information allowing officers to quickly locate and detain the suspect.” 

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