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Auburn Fire arson suspect booked into Nevada County Jail

David Holm
Submitted photo |

David Holm, the man suspected of having caused the Auburn Fire in mid-September, was booked into county jail Wednesday night after being released from the hospital.

The fire started on Sept. 17 just after 1:30 p.m. near the intersection of South Auburn and Whiting streets in Grass Valley. Although no structures were lost, the fire burned equipment and property of a nearby business before spreading into the heavily wooded area of the Empire Mine State Park.

The fire burned nearly 50 acres and required the evacuation of the park and several residences in the area. All local fire resources responded to fight the fire as well as local and regional air attack units. One local firefighter had to be transported to the hospital for severe smoke inhalation.



Holm reportedly told a bystander that he started the blaze.

Darren McMaster said he was with his brother at a car shop at South Auburn and Whiting streets the afternoon of Sept. 17 when Holm approached him from across the street. Holm, whom police called a transient, appeared disoriented.




McMaster said Holm asked him for money before pointing to the fire, which was producing only a wisp of smoke at that point in time.

“He said, ‘Yeah, I started it,’” McMaster added. “He said straight up that he started it.”

Authorities say it appears the fire began in some woods where Holm camped and might have been caused by a cigarette.

Police arrived and handcuffed Holm before he was placed in an ambulance, McMaster said. Holm was taken to the hospital for burn injuries and smoke inhalation.

Over the past several weeks, Holm has been admitted to two different medical facilities in Sacramento, Grass Valley Police Capt. Steve Johnson said in a press release.

On Wednesday evening, detectives learned that Holm was able to be released, Johnson said. They responded and took Holm into custody; he was then transported to the Nevada County Jail, where he was booked.

Holm has been charged with arson causing great bodily injury, along with an outstanding warrant, and is being held in lieu of $32,500 bail.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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