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Suspect accused of intentionally setting 3 fires near SR-87



The local fire district reported being able to contain the three fires.

GILA COUNTY, Ariz. — The Gila County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a suspect who is accused of intentionally setting multiple fires near State Route 87 between Pine and Strawberry.

On May 30 at about 4:30 p.m., a witness contacted law enforcement after seeing a subject leave the area where three fires had been started. Sheriff’s deputies and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the fires and located an individual matching a description given by the witness.

Kenneth Yocum, 53, was taken into custody and booked into jail for possible charges of criminal damage and wildlands burning, the sheriff’s office said.

The Pine-Strawberry Fire District reported being able to contain the fires, each of which consisted of about a third of an acre.

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Home Fire Prevention:

The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority has released tips on how to prevent fires from starting in your home.

“More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 25,000 are injured,” the authority said on its website. “An overwhelming number of fires occur in the home.”

First off, the authority says that every house needs to have at least one working smoke alarm. Every level of the home and every sleeping area should have a working smoke alarm inside of it to offer the best protection.

Appliances should also be used in a way that manufacturers recommend, since overheating, shorts and sparks can all lead to a fire breaking out.

Lastly, families should have an escape plan from every room of the house.

“Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot,” the authority said. “Select a location where everyone can meet after escaping the house. Get out then call for help.”

The authority offers free home safety inspections. Schedule one with them by calling 623-544-5400.



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