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By Mike Hazlip—
The cause of a recent vehicle fire that sent up a plume of black smoke near Oak Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard was arson, according to the vehicle’s owner.
Following the publication of an initial story about the fire on May 31, vehicle owner Shanna Simons told The Sentinel that her vehicle was targeted in an act of arson. Simons said she lives at the Auburn Oaks Senior Living apartment complex and was preparing to move and had her belongings in the vehicle at the time.
“We lost everything,” she said.
Citrus Heights Police Sgt. Dave Jones confirmed Metro Fire conducted an arson investigation at Auburn Oaks, but referred any further questions to Metro Fire.
Simons identified the suspect responsible for the crime as Michael Gill. Inmate records show Gill was arrested on June 6 and is facing a pair of felony charges for arson of property and attempting to burn a structure. His bail is set at $25,000, with the arresting agency listed as the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
Simons said security video shows Gill attempting to set fire to another vehicle before moving to her Ford. She said there was no motive behind the act.
As reported previously, the initial 911 caller told dispatch it was a pallet fire, according to Metro Fire Captain Matt Stuart. Another vehicle with wood pallets was next to Simons’ vehicle.
The vehicles were parked in the back of the apartment complex, and trees above the vehicles showed signs of heat and fire damage. Crews were able to extinguish the flames within minutes, Stuart said, and no injuries were reported.
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