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Residents Detain Man Accused Of Trying To Start A Brush Fire

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COSTA MESA (CBS) — Residents in Costa Mesa took action apprehending an alleged arsonist, who they claim they witnessed trying to start a brush fire in Talbert Regional Park Wednesday.

The incident happened at Victoria Street and the Santa Ana River.

When Jamie Huante watched 15-foot flames tear through the park below her Costa Mesa home, she called 911. Minutes later she called again.

“They actually asked, ‘Are you calling again about the fire?’ I said, ‘No, there’s a fight going on,’” Huante said.

She told the emergency dispatcher that she saw two men fight a third man to the ground and then detain him.

“His face was really bad. There was blood all over the stretcher,” Huante said.

She said that the dispatcher told her that the fight and the fire may have been connected.

“She said, ‘We’re getting a call right now that the fight going on down there, they think it’s the same fight that they have detained the guy that started the fire.’ And I’m like, ‘They detained him. He’s behind a bush and he’s not getting back up,’” Huante said.

Huante said the two men that she thought were bullying the other man may have witnessed an arson in progress and caught the suspect.

The man was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where the Orange County Fire Authority confirmed that he was being questioned.

The man suffered minor burned, the authority said.

The brush burned about 2 acres of the park and no other injuries or structure damage was reported.

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