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Three men arrested in North Fork Smith River arson investigation

Three men were arrested in Douglas County following an investigation into a structure fire in an unoccupied building in a remote area of the North Fork Smith River on Sep. 2, 2017. (Oregon State Police photo)

NORTH FORK SMITH RIVER, Ore. -- Arrests have been made in a case involving arson in Douglas County, authorities report.

On September 2, 2017, an Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife sergeant patrolling Roman Nose Mountain in the North Fork Smith River area noticed a suspicious vehicle drive by at a "higher than normal speed," Oregon State Police said.

About 10 miles down the road and half an hour later, the sergeant spotted a structure fire in an unoccupied building in a remote area of the North Fork Smith River.

An off-duty forester who happened upon the scene assisted the sergeant in taking action.

The two forced entry through the property's gate, put out a spot fire from embers that had crossed the river, and started building hand lines.

Western Lane Fire Protection District responded with a helicopter and half a dozen fire trucks and extinguished the fire before it spread further into the forest.

A follow-up investigation by an OSP arson detective led to charges being filed on three men.

It was later determined they were the same men in the suspicious vehicle that had passed the sergeant, the report said.

Elijah James Peterson (18 years old): Arson 1, Burglary II, Criminal Mischief I

David Gilbert McCoy Jr. (24 years old): Burglary II, Criminal Mischief I

Lucas Charles Reed (21 years old): Criminal Trespass I

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