MANILA – It started as a report of an assault in Manila at a homeless encampment off of Highway 255, and minutes later, a structure on was set on fire.
“Tommey Uber said ‘I’m going to burn my place down! If you do not cooperate with me I’m gonna burn this place down,” exclaimed homeless encampment member and suspect, Anthony Domenicio, “So I said Tommy – I can’t agree with you so, if you’re gonna burn your place down i can’t help ya!”
According to officials, the structure may have been home to a mother and two children.
“We’re still trying to find out where they are,” said Arcata Fire District’s Batallion Chief Sean Campbell.
From what Domenicio shared with us, it seemed the fire could have been set after a fight.
“Because of my intoleration of him letting him influence me, he burnt his place down!” yelled Domenicio.
After accusing a man named Tommy Uber of starting the fire, Domenicio made a startling confession to us when he believed cameras were no longer rolling.
“Camera off? I burnt the mother ****ers place down,” admitted Domenicio.
Later this afternoon, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced Domenicio was charged with two felonies – assault with a deadly weapon and arson.
For all those involved, it was far from an easy day.
“We relied on multiple agencies because everyone is shorted staffed right now,” said Chief Campbell.
And due to safety hazards fire crews were not able to finish their job.
“The piles of debris that are still smoldering are full of human waste, which is common for a situation like this. We have an engine out of service now because our crews have been contaminated. I can’t risk the potential illness or contamination to my personnel to complete the extinguishment,” explained Chief Campbell.
Officials say they will be checking the location on a regular basis until the fire self-extinguishes.
They say it was lucky this happened on a less windy, more humid day, because otherwise more structures could have been threatened.