Man Faces Arson Charges for Allegedly Starting 18,000-acre Southern California Fire

California is currently in a state of emergency because of fires burning throughout the state. On the morning of August 8, 2018, a 51-year-old man, Forrest Gordon Clark, was arrested at his home in connection with the large forest fire in the Cleveland National forest, that has burned over 18,000 acres. According to ABC 7 News, the Orange County fire authority became suspicious of Clark when they discovered the origin of the fire was near the cabin he owns. So far, no one has been injured but many cabins and homes have burned, and firefighters fear more structures could be in harm’s way.

Currently, investigators believe the fire was an intentional act. They have been gathering evidence to support this claim. For example, the fire originated near Clark’s cabin, and of the 14 cabins in the area, Clark’s is the only one still standing. Clark also sent an email to the volunteer fire chief last week warning, “This place will burn” after a dispute with his neighbors.

In California where the dry climate allows fires to spread so quickly, fire is truly destructive. In a case like this, the arsonist, can face serious criminal charges. Clark was booked into the Orange County Jail and is being held on a $1 million bail, facing arson charges. Even with these severe criminal penalties, he would also face civil liability to those injured by the fires and to property owners for the fire damage caused to their property.

Unfortunately, fires are an ever-increasing danger to California residents and their property. California residents should make sure their homeowner’s insurance coverage is up to date to confirm they are covered in case of fire damage. Insurance protection is a way to recover in the event your home is lost.

If your home is damaged or destroyed in a fire, you may have trouble recovering the full value of your lost property from your homeowners’ insurance. If you are facing this problem, or your insurance company is treating you unfairly, you may call our office for a free consultation with a fire damage lawyer, who can help you recover the fair value of your lost property. Property loss due to a fire can leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed, especially if your insurance company gives you trouble. If you believe your insurance company is treating you unfairly, call our insurance lawyers for a free consultation today at 866-465-8792.

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