House fire likely arson
A Tuesday morning fire that ravaged a home south of Grass Valley was most likely intentionally set, fire officials said Wednesday.
The blaze was also possibly connected to the burning of a travel trailer in July and two car break-ins that month, authorities said.
“We are moving in the direction of a suspect,” Nevada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Powell said of Tuesday’s blaze. “It’s looking like an arson..”
Powell and Detective Rich Kimball said investigators have a possible motive for the fire. Kimball said if someone is arrested, the suspect likely will face charges that include attempted murder and arson.
Two couples and one child were displaced by the fire, on the 13200 block of Dog Bar Road, near La Barr Meadows Road. The residents included Amber Gorman, 25; her 5-year-old daughter, Kailey; her fiancé, Daniel Anderson, 25; Wayne Brown Correctional Facility officer Chris Stanio; and Stanio’s girlfriend.
“They barely got out of there,” Kimball said. “Had (Anderson) not woken up, we would have had four bodies.”
Stanio was at work when the fire broke out at 6:09 a.m.; everyone else was able to escape outside.
The one-story home was completely engulfed when fire crews arrived at about 6:15 a.m. They were able to contain the fire by 6:41 a.m., but the structure was a total loss.
Powell declined to release the names of potential suspects but said none of the residents is a suspect.
Nevada County Consolidated Fire Chief Tim Fike said the fire most likely started in an unattached garage that was adjacent to the home or in a car that was parked next to the garage.
It is unlikely an electrical fire in the car could have started the blaze, he said, as the car did not have a battery.
Several fire investigators said Wednesday that the exact origin of the blaze had not been determined, and that an accelerant, such as gasoline, had not yet been found.
The house fire came less than one month after Stanio’s and Anderson’s vehicles were broken into on July 24. Several personal items were stolen out of Stanio’s vehicle, including a stereo and his sheriff’s office badge.
Powell said that the two cars were the only ones reported burglarized in that area on July 24.
In late July, a travel trailer on La Barr Meadows Road that was being used by one of the female tenants of Tuesday’s house fire was also burned. While investigators would not release specific information, they said the two fires might be connected.
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