The actions of a volunteer Oregon House fireman led to the arrest of a suspected arsonist by the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department Monday night. Michael Bernardis was driving on Marysville Road, north of Highway 20, just after 6 p.m. last night when he saw a man allegedly starting grass fires in the area. Lt Damin Gil with the Yuba county Sheriff’s office says Bernardis was driving home when he saw the suspicious activity.
“He was driving his personal vehicle on Marysville Road when he spotted the subject lighting fires. In the last couple of days, too, we’ve had a couple of days where the wind was up and of course, when that happens, we really keep a close eye on the fire situation.”
Bernardis contacted the man who then swung at him with a cloth bag that contained several full cans of beer. The two men ended up in a physical confrontation before Bernardis could subdue the man and make a radio call for assistance. Yuba County deputies, along with personnel from the California Department of Forestry (CDF) responded to the scene. CDF personnel were able to put out the fires and the Yuba County deputies took the suspect into custody. He was identified as Michael Bevard, 49, of Yuba County. Bevard was arrested on several charges including arson and assault with a deadly weapon. Bernardis was not injured.