NORCO (CBSLA.com) — John Casper was heading home Sunday afternoon when he saw a small brush fire on the side of the road and what looked like a man right in the middle of it.
“It takes a second to sink in,” Casper said. “I thought wow that guy is setting the fire. He’s obscured by the flames, he’s like standing in it.”
By the time Casper pulled over and got his camera out, the man was walking away with his bike. Casper couldn’t see if he had anything that had been used to start a fire, but he says there was something about the way the man was leaving that seemed suspicious.
“He was out in the middle of the field and he didn’t seem to be trying to put it out. Something in the way he was walking told me he was trying to sneak away.”
Joshua Hitt says he saw the same man kneeling down in the tall grass just moments before the fire started.
“We saw the fire start right at his feet,” Hitt said. “He had to use an accelerant of some sort, because the fire didn’t start like it was a lighter to the grass. it started out as a large patch, at least 4-foot-by-4-foot section, just flames all at once.”
Luckily, firefighters responded quickly and were able to keep the flames from spreading to nearby businesses.
“They got there fast and they were on it before anything bad could happen, they had it out, they had it out fast,” Hitt said.
Investigators with Calfire tell CBSLA they still haven’t determined how this fire started, but they are talking to witnesses and looking into the possibility it was intentionally set. Casper is sharing his video with neighbors on social media, hoping someone will recognize the man who might be responsible.
“This wasn’t major, it didn’t jump the road, but we’ve seen a lot of fires that get really ugly, and that’s really a concern that someone like that has no regard at all,” Casper said.