MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford Police say they are searching for a transient, last seen moments before a grass fire started Wednesday between Medford and Central Point.
Police say that transient – only wanted for questioning at this point – was arrested back in April for starting a small fire; that case is pending in the district attorney’s office.
Medford Police say the same transient is seen on surveillance video at a nearby convenience store buying cigarettes. Fire investigators say a fire that started in a field along Highway 99 was human caused and police believe they are on the right track to finding out who caused it.
About a half-acre burned behind Jaspers Restaurant and the Pet Country Store on Wednesday afternoon; it’s the same area where the body of a transient man was found Tuesday. The autopsy shows the man, who was in his forties, died of natural causes. Police believe a group of transients where in the area – paying tribute to the man – just before Wednesday’s fire started.
They suspect someone may have flicked a cigarette and that started the fire. What they don’t know is: if that is how the fire started, was it done negligently or on purpose? That’s where the arson fire in April comes in. Medford Police say the suspect in that fire was seen leaving the tribute to the dead man before yesterday’s fire.
Medford Police are not releasing the man’s name but officers are actively looking for him. He is only wanted for questioning at this point.