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Ex-Firefighter Arrested, Accused of Starting Deadly California Wildfire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
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    A former firefighter was arrested on suspicion of arson and murder in a wildfire over the summer that destroyed dozens of homes and left one person dead in rural Northern California, a fire official confirmed on Wednesday.

    Zane Wallace Peterson, 29, of Happy Valley, started two fires that turned into the September Clover Fire in Shasta County, state fire Capt. Scott McLean said. He was arrested on Tuesday.

    The fire burned more than 12 square miles near the rural community of Happy Valley. It was fanned by gusty winds, and spread at about 500 acres an hour at its peak.

    It also destroyed more than 50 homes and claimed the life of Brian Henry, 56, whose body was found inside a motor home destroyed by the fire in the community of Igo.

    McLean said Peterson's arrest came after three months of investigation.

    "This is still an ongoing case,'' he said. "There's still more work to be done on our part to make sure this comes to a positive conclusion.''

    Shasta County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Hanna told the Record Searchlight of Redding Peterson was a former firefighter.

    The newspaper said a woman who answered the phone at Peterson's home declined to comment.