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Citizens' arrest: 3 Oregon residents apprehend arson suspect, tie him to tree until police arrive
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Citizens' arrest: 3 Oregon residents apprehend arson suspect, tie him to tree until police arrive

A 30-year-old Oregon man suspected of arson is now in custody thanks to the help of three local residents.

According to police reports, a Bureau of Land Management official contacted police shortly before 2 p.m. local time on Monday afternoon to report seeing a white male walking along a gravel path and setting fires in a forested area near Mariel Lodge and Rogue River Ranch in the southwest corner of the state. Federal, state, and county agencies immediately sprang into action to contain the fires and apprehend the suspect.

However, the area where the suspect was spotted is so remote, police say, that it can be reached only via the Rogue River or by utilizing BLM roads. So accessing the burned areas and locating the suspect would likely be difficult.

Luckily, some local residents got wind of the reports of arson and decided to help law enforcement and fire services. Some residents doused the fire, while three residents spotted the suspect walking on the road near the fires and managed to place him under citizen's arrest.

The Curry County Sheriff's Office reported that the man — later identified as Trennon Smith of Veneta, Oregon — "became very combative" during the encounter with the three residents. So, the three tied Smith to a tree "to subdue him" until law enforcement arrived.

Because Smith reportedly injured himself in a fall during the incident, authorities transported him by ambulance to Three Rivers Hospital in Grants Pass, Oregon, approximately 25 miles away. Smith was treated for his injuries and then discharged to the care of officials at the Curry County Jail.

Smith currently faces two counts of first-degree arson and one count of reckless burning. He was also held on a detention warrant issued in Lane County, Oregon, for violating probation. His bail has been set at $100,000.

"The quick actions on getting the fires out most certainly averted a catastrophe and saved lives," the Curry County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "The total area burnt is less than one acre. If the fires had not been contained and if they got out of control, they could have blocked all the residents and visitors from having an escape route."

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →