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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 11:30 pm | Fair 47º


Suspect Arrested in ‘Suspicious’ House Fire in Lompoc

The Lompoc Police Department on Tuesday arrested a 29-year-old Lompoc man for his alleged part in a “suspicious” fast-moving fire that swept through a residence and injured one firefighter.

Clyde Smith
Clyde Smith

Lompoc Fire Department crews were called shortly before 1:45 p.m. to report of a structure fire in the 800 block of East Airport Avenue, according to Lompoc Fire Chief Kurt Latipow.

Upon arrival, crews found a duplex unit fully involved, with fire venting out several windows, Latipow said.

Firefighters were able to quickly knock down the blaze before it could spread to a second unit, but one firefighter was transported to Lompoc Valley Medical Center for treatment of minor burns before he was released, he said.

Latipow said four residents were home at the time of the fire, but made it out safely.

Because of the fire’s speed, he said the fire was suspicious and under investigation.

Detectives from the Gang Narcotics Enforcement Team helped determine that the blaze was caused by an illegal extraction operation of butane honey oil, which is the byproduct of a marijuana extraction process using butane gas, according to police Sgt. Chuck Strange.

Clyde Smith, a resident of the gutted residence, was arrested on the scene and booked into the Lompoc Jail on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance through a chemical process and causing a fire resulting in an injury to another, Strange said.

Smith's bail was set at $75,000.

The American Red Cross was on the scene Tuesday to assist the eight people who were displaced by the fire, including four residents of a neighboring unit that experienced some smoke damage and cut off electricity, Latipow said.

No damage estimate was available Tuesday.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

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