From the June 9, 2010 edition:
Press Staff Report
A McKinleyville man has been arrested on suspicion of purposefully burning down his own residence, which contained 40 growing marijuana plants.
Stephen Robert Thompson, 36, is accused of setting multiple fires in his home, located at 1964 Cypress Court in McKinleyville.
A neighbor on Holly Drive called 911 at 2:19 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, to report smoke coming from the window of Thompson’s residence.
Arcata Fire responded to the residence to find the interior in flames and filled with large amounts of visible smoke. Arcata firefighters extinguished the fire.
The approximately 1,200-square-foot, single-story residence suffered significant fire and subsequent water damage. No one was reported to be in the residence at the time of the fire, and there are no injuries reported.
While extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered the indoor garden, which was later determined to be a legal marijuana garden under Proposition 215 laws.
Further investigation determined that the cause of the fire was highly suspicious and possibly the result of arson.
Multiple “fire sets” were located both inside and outside the residence.
With a search warrant acquired later that afternoon, members of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Arcata Fire Department and the Humboldt County Arson Task Force investigated the exact origin and cause of the fire.
Thompson, who resided at the home but did not own the property, was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of arson. Motive for the arson is unknown at this time.