Crime - Sacto 911

Arson suspect arrested, linked to Oak Park fire that damaged two homes, authorities say

A man was arrested in Sacramento this week on suspicion of arson in connection with a late September fire that damaged two homes in Oak Park, including one that was under construction, authorities say.

Samuel Martinez, 39, was linked to a fire that broke out Sept. 30 in the 3800 block of 20th Avenue, which almost completely destroyed a home being built and damaged an adjacent residential property, the Sacramento Fire Department said in a news release.

Fire department investigators arrested Martinez on Tuesday, with assistance from Sacramento police, after Martinez was identified as the suspect seen on surveillance video leaving the structure less than a minute before the fire started, according to the news release.

Investigators determined the fire was intentionally set in the interior of the house that was under construction, causing about $150,000 in damage. No injuries were reported.

The fire created large clouds of smoke that could be seen for miles, and drew spectators to the fence at Christian Brothers High School, located across the street on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.