Orange County man arrested for August arson fire

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IRVINE, California — A 39-year-old man already in custody on unrelated vandalism charges has been identified as a suspect in an arson fire two months ago in Orange County's Santiago Canyon.

Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority says Tuesday that Martin David Weel of Modjeska Canyon has been charged with one count of arson.

He pleaded not guilty on Monday and will remain in custody. A bail hearing will be held later this week.

Concialdi says firefighters quickly put out the early-morning fire on Aug. 27 because there were no winds, but the blaze could have been catastrophic.

The fire started along Santiago Canyon Road across from an equestrian center.

Concialdi says witnesses saw a car leaving the scene.

Weel's attorney, Staycie Sena, didn't immediately return a call.

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