FAIRFIELD — A fire Thursday at a homeless camp along Beck Avenue turned out to be a case of assault, according to Fairfield police.
Firefighters at the scene of the small 12:30 p.m. fire reported a man had knocked over a propane stove while cooking. But further investigations after a woman suffering burns was discovered a mile from the scene changed the story.
Fairfield police on Friday reported that the man, 52-year-old Russell Lane Martin, threw a burning propane camp stove into the tent where his platonic tent mate was sitting. The woman threw the stove out of the tent, which extinguished the stove.
Martin is suspected of relighting the stove burner and throwing it on the ground inside the tent, causing the propane tank to rupture and explode, police said. The flames burned the woman and caused a nearby mattress and trash pile to catch on fire, a police press release said. Firefighters responded to a 911 call from passing motorists and quickly extinguished the blaze.
The woman went to Food Maxx on West Texas Street, where store security saw her and notified police. She suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
Police responded and found Martin on the 1800 block of West Texas Street. They arrested him without incident and booked him into Solano County jail at 3:46 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. Additionally, arson charges will be sought, a police press release said. Bail was set at $25,000.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.