Grass Valley police arrest man suspected of starting vegetation fire |

Grass Valley police arrest man suspected of starting vegetation fire

Authorities credit a quick response by firefighters for the containment of a vegetation fire in Grass Valley over the weekend.

A homeless man was arrested in connection with the fire after he admitted to having accidentally started the blaze, said Grass Valley Police Sgt. Clint Bates.

Anthony Robert Hewitt, 20, was booked into the Nevada County Jail on a felony charge of having caused a forest fire, and remained in custody Monday on a $10,000 bond, jail records state.

Just after 3 p.m. Sunday the county dispatch center received between 50 and 60 911 calls regarding a brush fire, with the location initially given as near Sutton Way and Dorsey Drive, Bates said.

“It was a pretty impressive response time by the firefighters,” he said, “They quickly got it under control.”

Grass Valley/Nevada City, Nevada County Consolidated, Penn Valley and Cal Fire firefighters responded and were able to contain the fire at 2 acres, according to a Grass Valley Fire Department online post.

According to Bates, he had seen an RV parked in a dirt turnoff directly across from the fire’s point of origin the day before. That same RV was seen parked on Idaho Maryland Road at the time of the fire Sunday, he said.

Police officers on Sunday contacted the owner of the RV, as well as Hewitt. Hewitt was dirty and smelled of smoke, had hair singed off his arms, legs and head, and had some superficial burns on his arms, Bates said.

Hewitt said he fell asleep with a cigarette in his mouth, causing the fire, and then fled the area, Bates said.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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