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New fire charges against convicted California arsonist

August 28, 2019
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This Dec. 18, 2016, photo released by the Orange County Fire Authority shows a vehicle that was set on fire in Santa Ana, Calif., the morning Orange County Fire Authority station 72 was burglarized. Christian Saddler, a man already in prison for arson, is facing new charges that he set fires as a diversion to burglarize fire stations in Southern California. The Orange County Fire Authority Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, announced new charges against Saddler, a one-time member of San Bernardino County's Fire Explorer program. (Orange County Fire Authority via AP)
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This Dec. 18, 2016, photo released by the Orange County Fire Authority shows a vehicle that was set on fire in Santa Ana, Calif., the morning Orange County Fire Authority station 72 was burglarized. Christian Saddler, a man already in prison for arson, is facing new charges that he set fires as a diversion to burglarize fire stations in Southern California. The Orange County Fire Authority Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, announced new charges against Saddler, a one-time member of San Bernardino County's Fire Explorer program. (Orange County Fire Authority via AP)

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — A man already in prison for arson is facing new charges that he set fires as a diversion to burglarize fire stations in Southern California.

Prosecutors contend that 21-year-old Christian Saddler of Hesperia caused more than $5 million in damage.

The Orange County Fire Authority Tuesday announced new charges against Saddler, a one-time member of San Bernardino County’s Fire Explorer program.

Authorities say Saddler set fires to divert crews in order to steal cash and personal items from Orange County stations.

KTLA-TV reports that one fire spread to a Santa Ana apartment building where families slept. They escaped without injury.

Authorities say they suspect Saddler also set fires in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

Saddler currently is serving five years for arson and burglary involving other cases.

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