Man Charged With Arson in OC Blaze

Martin Weel was in custody for an unrelated vandalism charge when investigators linked him to the Santiago Canyon fire.

A man already in sheriff's custody to face a vandalism charge has been linked to an arson fire set across the street from Santiago Equestrian Center in Orange County during the late summer, the Orange County Fire Authority said Tuesday.

Martin David Weel, 39, of Modjeska Canyon, was in custody of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department facing an unrelated vandalism charge when he was interviewed by investigators who now believe he was solely responsible for the fire on Santiago Canyon Road, the Fire Authority said in a statement.

He has been charged with one count of arson of a forest or wildland area. Investigators believe Weel acted alone.

Early in the morning Aug. 27, multiple witnesses reported the blaze, and said they had seen a car fleeing the scene.

The fire was quickly contained and no one was injured.

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