Man arrested for starting Bear Fire in Boulder Creek, looting home


A man was arrested for starting the Bear Fire which burned 391 acres of land, two homes, four outbuildings, 17 cars and injured multiple firefighters in the Boulder Creek area. 

According to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, 54-year-old Marlon Dale Coy, who lives in the area, was arrested for starting the fire below 475 Diane Way, which is located in Boulder Creek.  

Investigators believe Coy had a dispute with someone on the property where he allegedly started the fire. 

A home on Hidden Springs Road was looted shortly after the fire started. People who lived in the home were asked to evacuate by officials. When they returned the next day they determined their home had been burglarized and $15,000 worth of jewelry, among other items, were missing. 

As the burglary was reported, detectives had already been working to locate Coy, who had been identified as a person of interest in the fire investigation. He also had a warrant on a previous arrest. 

They found Coy riding a bicycle in the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz. He was in possession of a backpack full of jewelry. Detectives learned the bicycle he was riding and the jewelry had been taken from the home on Hidden Springs Road. Even the cycling clothes Coy was wearing were stolen from the home, according to the sheriff's office. 

Coy was arrested Oct. 17 and investigators interviewed three men he was with when the fire started. All three witnesses reported they saw Coy lighting the fire, which then spread. 

Coy was re-arrested on multiple counts of arson. He faces charges of burglary, grand theft and arson causing great bodily injury, burned structures and burned forest land. 

The Bear Fire was just declared fully contained by Cal Fire on Thursday night. 

Thirteen firefighters were injured fighting the blaze. Three were seriously injured and one remains hospitalized. Officials say if not for the heroic efforts of firefighters, Coy could easily be facing murder charges as well. 

Coy's bail was set at $800,000. 

The case remains under investigation. 

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