Firebug Near State and Modoc

By Geo Duarte

Man who’s known to set fires near Ellers Donuts on State Street is not arrested.


This suspect has a history of regularly starting fires. They likely do not have the space for petty crimes and urban campfires.

 On Wednesday June 28th just after 4 PM a report of a man starting a fire on the 4000 block of State.  Right near the heavy equipment rental place.

Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies and county fire iresponded.  They doused the entire nearby area. He was apparently trying to ignite a mattress and other items near a tree.

Geo Duarte

Written by Geo Duarte

Geo Duarte is a volunteer scanner reporter for More reports can be viewed on Geo's Instagram page @Xtek_Overload

What do you think?


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  1. Geo – In this July 1 article, regarding the man you say is ” – known to set fires.” Was he involved in (past) fires near Eller’s; and the same man involved in the June 28 fire? I’ll guess setting a mattress on fire as described is not a “petty crime.” I’d call it arson. Do you know if deputies are aware of this mans “history of regularly starting fires?”

  2. Starting fires is a “petty crime”
    Get out your fireworks & light em up!
    Since our City doesn’t care about fires, the loss of life & property that can accompany it.
    Heck how does our DA & police feel about the Thomas Fire or the Loma Alta fire that burned the West Side up to the Mesa started by a fire bug, same person?
    Seriously, the government wants citizens to start enforcing the law. If the government won’t protect the people, the oriole have to do it.
    Oh & refund my taxes since I’m not getting what I paid for.

  3. If the usual suspects want to turn this into a political thing (as usual), does anyone have a realistic solution? Increase penalties for lighting fires in public? Then what? Problem solved? No, it just postpones the problem and costs taxpayers more 3 hots and a cot for more criminals. If this person is lighting fires in broad daylight in full view on a hot day they clearly have mental problems. Since conservatives in their infinite wisdom did away with compulsory mental institutions, medication, and many community treatment programs, what’s the plan now? More whining for election years and absolutely zero ideas? Yep.

  4. Oh and while we’re on the subject of fires… why are they such a larger public hazard now? Is it because climate change doesn’t exist? I mean surely some of the more functional among you must recognize the cognitive dissonance between worrying about arson so much and doing totally jack when it comes to the climate.

  5. Fires are not a larger problem than before. They were always a problem, there were just fewer people here, so less density of population; and there were fewer people here so just as many firebugs per 1000, just more 1000’s of population. We were always concerned with fire here. Smokey the Bear signs were everywhere. Have people forgotten that the USFS used to have a station on the corner of Cold Springs Road and East Mountain Drive. Fire season isn’t longer than before, it is the same… variable within the year and drought etc. But it has always been fire season when down canyon winds and low humidity coincide whether it was 1623 or is 2023. Fire season has always gone from first sundowner in the spring or summer to the last sundowner before first 2″ of rain. To say this is “unprecedented” shows an illiteracy in the area of history, but then maybe we are products of SB Unified where 48% literacy compared to standard is acceptable

  6. Point is we live somewhere that fire is considered very dangerous. The Thomas Fire may have been caused by power lines, but most fires are caused by an individual And we’ve had plenty of fires that have gotten out of control.
    Hence insurance companies charging 6 figures for home fire insurance & insurance companies leaving CA.
    Quite a few homeless have been injured and killed by homeless. Like the gentleman last year in Goleta who lit a camping stove & caused a fire that killed him.
    Seriously, GT what’s up with you. Making lite of fire or nitpicking who started a fire.
    Point is fire is dangerous & can cause quite a bit of harm. Petty crime is bull.
    That’s like firing off a loaded gun in public, is that a petty crime too?
    Our DAs priorities are not aligned with keeping the public safe.

  7. The current tolerance for crime is so frustrating. In addition giving criminals a get out of jail free pass or not even arresting them it signals to others that there will be no consequences if they commit crimes. There does seem to be citizen push-back in some cities which is encouraging. However, it will be very difficult to correct the situation because a society of criminals have been created similar to a group of spoiled children who have never been told “No.”

  8. “Ah, so you were using the 48% spelling and are now replying in a way that shows you don’t know how. Got it.”
    I went to SB Unified schools. You applauded 48% proficiency a few weeks ago and now have flipped to criticizing me, the student, for performing to the standard I was taught at? Seems incongruent and unkind

  9. Fire are not a larger problem than before. I explained my metric using population density and also noted climatological factors that have remained the same over over the centuries. Prime fire problems have always happened when humidity is low, winds are high. Whether that is in late April, early May or late December, early January and everything in between. Climate change has not impacted fire season as much as proclaimed. Fire season has always started in mid to late spring and ended at some point in the winter with one or two exceptional historical events where fires occurred in extreme drought years in February. The only reason fire season in now all year ’round is because of firebugs. Firebugs are not “manmade climate change, they are manmade fire makers” blaming homeless encampment firebug fires on climate change is unscientific

  10. Note/question to poster Geo Duarte:
    You stated this:
    “Man who’s known to set fires near Ellers Donuts on State Street is not arrested.”
    Consider journalist ethics, and your place in the community of SB and in the human community. You raised a bit of a storm.
    I do appreciate your community reporting. It does come with some responsibility.
    Think about this thread, and I hope you keep reporting. Best!

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