A Grass Valley woman has been arrested on suspicion of arson in the wake of a fire that caused major damage to a building in downtown Grass Valley Wednesday night.
One apartment unit sustained major damage, but no one was hurt in a fire that started in the two-story building next to Grass Valley’s city hall late Wednesday.
The fire was reported around 8:40 p.m. and involved a residence behind City Hall and the police station in the 100 block of Stewart Street that was subdivided into nine apartments housing 16 occupants, said Grass Valley Fire Chief Tony Clarabut.
Grass Valley Police officers responded quickly to the scene and found the fire involved the upper level of the building, said Capt. Rex Marks.
Several residents who were in the building were evacuated.
Multiple witnesses said the fire had been set by a woman identified as Patti Jill Radabaugh, 49, Marks said, who called it a “deliberate attempt” to burn the building.
Radabaugh allegedly used a pocket lighter to set a lamp inside an apartment on fire. The motive possibly involved a verbal argument between Radabaugh and her boyfriend several hours before the incident, Marks said.
Other witnesses at the scene said Radabaugh recently had been evicted from the building.
Radabaugh was located in the 100 block of Main Street, arrested and booked into county jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
The fire was contained by around 10 p.m. and most of the fire damage was confined to the apartment of origin, Clarabut said.
Firefighters from Nevada City, Nevada County Consolidated, Penn Valley, Ophir Hill and Higgins fire departments responded to the scene of the fire, along with Cal Fire.
Evacuees were tended to by Turning Point Providence Center and the Red Cross, Clarabut said.
Five Nevada County volunteers for the American Red Cross responded the fire, helping 11 people, including an infant, who were left with no place to sleep.
The Red Cross provided a hotel room and food allowances to aid in immediate relief, said volunteer Steve Baker.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4229.
Reporter Chris Rosacker contributed to this story.