Man faces homicide charges in wildfire

Man faces homicide charges in wildfire

18 November 2006

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CA, USA — A man accused of starting three small wildfires in a remote Central Valley canyon, one of which led to a plane crash that killed two people, has been arrested, authorities said.

Patrick Courtney, 29, of Tulare, was being held without bail Friday on homicide and arson charges, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement. It was not immediately clear if Courtney had an attorney.

The Sept. 6 crash of a plane surveilling a wildfire in the remote foothills of Tulare County killed CDF Battalion Chief Robert Stone and pilot Sandy Willett.

It sparked a three-acre wildfire near an area about 170 miles north of Los Angeles where firefighters battled the other blaze. Tulare County is about 70 miles southeast of Fresno.

Authorities released no details on their investigation into the crash or the arrest.

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