Deputies: Paintballer Started 50-Acre Santa Clarita Fire With Smoke Canister

SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) – A 20-year-old Lancaster man has been arrested on allegations he used a smoke canister to accidentally spark a three-alarm blaze Thursday that burned 50 acres in the Santa Clarita community of Newhall.

Zachary Garcia, 20, started the Towsley Fire Thursday afternoon by setting off a smoke canister during a paintball game at the Field of Fire paintball park, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reports. Garcia was arrested at the scene and faces one count of recklessly causing a fire (accidental).

The fire broke out near Old Road and Towsley Canyon Road before 1:50 p.m. Thursday. The paintball facility and U.S. Post Office were evacuated and Old Road was closed between Gavin Canyon and Calgrove Boulevard.

The fire’s forward progress was stopped by 9:45 a.m. Friday, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reports. The fire had burned 50 acres and was 40 percent contained. 120 fire personnel were still assigned to the fire Friday morning.

LASD arson detectives are investigating. There were no reported injuries or damage to any homes or businesses. One outbuilding was destroyed.

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