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Man suspected of starting fires in remote Oregon woods detained by 3 residents who tied him to a tree

By Jennifer Henderson, CNN

A man suspected of starting two fires in remote southwest Oregon was arrested, after reportedly being tied to a tree by three people until police arrived, Curry County Sheriff John Ward said in statement posted on Facebook.

The sheriff’s office thanked those who assisted with controlling the fire and detaining the suspect.

“The quick actions on getting the fires out most certainly averted a catastrophe and saved lives. The total area burnt is less than one acre,” the sheriff said in the release. “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.”

On Monday, the sheriff’s office received a call from the US Forest Service about fires burning in the far northeast portion of Curry County, according to the statement. The area can only be accessed by Bureau of Land Management and forest service roads and via the river. A BLM employee who was in the area of the blazes saw a man walking along a gravel road and starting fires, Ward said.

Dispatchers alerted local, state and federal authorities, asking for assistance with the fires and finding the man.

Ground crews — including area residents — got the fires controlled quickly, according to the release.

Three residents found the 30-year-old suspect, Trennon Smith, walking near the fires and detained him until police arrived, according to Ward’s statement.

“It was reported that the suspect became very combative with the three residents and had to be tied to a tree to subdue him,” Ward said in the release.

Smith was arrested and taken to a hospital as he was injured while falling down, police said. He was released from medical care and taken to jail, where he remained Wednesday.

Smith is accused of one count of first-degree arson, one count of second-degree arson and reckless burning, according to court records.

Smith was also booked on a Lane County detention warrant for a probation violation, police say. According to the court docket, Smith was arraigned Tuesday and has a hearing Thursday.

According to court records and the Curry County District Attorney’s Office, Smith, who the sheriff said is from Veneta, does not have an attorney.

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