Santa Ana RV fire under investigation days after naked woman barricaded self inside

Thursday, September 14, 2017 06:42PM
A woman, who was naked and holed up inside an RV in Santa Ana, was detained as part of an arson investigation when that same vehicle went up in flames days later.


SANTA ANA, Calif. - A woman, who was naked and holed up inside an RV in Santa Ana, was detained as part of an arson investigation when that same vehicle went up in flames days later.

An eyewitness captured cellphone video of flames erupting from the RV. Orange County fire officials said the blaze started around 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Dyer Road and Pullman Avenue.

"The smoke was black and tall. The fire was burning strong before I got here," Austin Roberts said.

Firefighters said the two people inside the RV escaped when help arrived. Crews worked quickly to put out the flames, even with issues caused by downed power lines.

The vehicle is the same one involved in an hourslong barricade that happened Tuesday night. A naked woman with a knife threw things out of a window as police tried talking to her. Officers eventually stood down, concerned about escalating the situation.

"We felt it was just safer to back off. We were hoping she would come out of the RV - she didn't," Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

Police said the man who owns the RV did not want to press charges for Tuesday's incident. Eyewitness News was told he is a mentor for the woman.

As arson investigators tried to determine what caused Thursday's RV fire, the woman was taken into custody.

"(The man) just left her alone, hoping she would calm down, went and got his coffee. He returns and his RV is on fire," Bertagna said.

People who work nearby said the woman had a breakdown before the barricade situation started and were surprised to later see the RV go up in flames.

"I noticed kind of a cleanup effort after Tuesday's events. But I really just wanted to make sure that she was OK and the gentleman who was living with her was OK," Roberts said.

Authorities said the woman will be placed on a 72-hour mental health evaluation hold.
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