VACAVILLE, Calif. - Harrowing Vacaville police body-camera video from August showed officers frantically evacuating residents from the fast-moving Markley Fire.
Authorities say the deadly fire near Lake Berryessa was no accident, nor was Mother Nature to blame.
Investigators say Victor Serriteno started the fire to cover up his killing of Priscilla Castro, a woman he had met online for a date.
"We believe Serriteno deliberately set the Markley Fire in attempt to conceal his crime," said Solano County Sheriff Thomas Ferrara.
Castro's burned body was found at the origin of the fire. Authorities have not said how she was killed, and whether she was killed elsewhere.
The fire, which was part of the LNU Complex, killed two people, 82-year-old Douglas Mai and 64-year old Leon Bone, who went by James.
"The two resulting deaths from that fire are now considered homicides," Ferrara said.
Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams says Serriteno could now face three murder charges, as well as arson, along with the special circumstances of arson-murder and multiple murder. If convicted, he could face life in prison or potentially the death penalty, which is still on hold in California
"The fire had devastating impacts on so many people in our community," Abrams said
Vacaville police Lt. Bryan Larsen said, "We have three people that perished in this fire. People lost homes, people lost property, people lost animals, people lost livestock."
Sheriff's Lt. Jackson Harris agreed, saying, "This was an unprecedented fire in scale."
Harris said fire victims' claims won't be affected by the criminal investigation.
"Solano County suffered, I believe 30 to 40,000 acres burned, and then the hundreds of homes destroyed and residences," Harris said.
Ken Albers, who lost his home in the fire and lived two doors down from Bone, one of the two men who died, said of the suspect, "I'd probably like to wring his neck more than anything else."
Albers said, "We lost everything. We lived in the house for 30 years. We had to start from zero. And we're both in our 70s, it's not quite the time you want to start from scratch."