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Homeless Man Arrested After Allegedly Starting Vegetation Fire Near Santa Barbara

Suspect told deputies blaze started accidentally while he was cooking at encampment

A homeless man was arrested Thursday after he accidentally started a vegetation fire at an encampment off Hollister Avenue near Santa Barbara, according to sheriff’s deputies. Click to view larger
A homeless man was arrested Thursday after he accidentally started a vegetation fire at an encampment off Hollister Avenue near Santa Barbara, according to sheriff’s deputies. (John Palminteri / KEYT News photo)

A homeless man was arrested Thursday after accidentally starting a small fire behind a restaurant near Santa Barbara, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Firefighters were dispatched shortly after 10:30 a.m. to a field off the 4400 block of Hollister Avenue, said fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

Upon arrival, they found a fire burning near a homeless encampment about 200 yards north of Hollister, behind the Creekside Restaurant & Bar, Zaniboni said.

A homeless man who admitted accidentally starting the fire while cooking was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies, Zaniboni said.

John Cody Parker, 57, was charged with unlawfully starting a fire, according to Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

Crews were able to contain the flames to a 20-by-20-foot area, which included the encampment, Zaniboni said.

No injuries were reported.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Firefighters douse flames in and around a homeless encampment off Hollister Avenue near Santa Barbara on Thursday. A man told deputies he accidentally started the blaze while cooking. Click to view larger
Firefighters douse flames in and around a homeless encampment off Hollister Avenue near Santa Barbara on Thursday. A man told deputies he accidentally started the blaze while cooking. (John Palminteri / KEYT News photo)

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