Suspect in deadly California arson wildfire told investigators he watched flames
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The suspect in a massive arson wildfire that killed five firefighters told prosecutors he drove to a spot near where it started on the night it was set to watch the flames, according to a police report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.Raymond Lee Oyler, 36, denied having anything to do with the crime when he spoke to investigators on Oct. 27, the day after the fire began. He told investigators he had been gambling at the Morongo Indian Casino & Spa and then stopped at a Shell gas station before “traveling toward the Esperanza fire to watch it,” according to the document that summarizes Oyler’s interviews with police.The affidavit said Oyler took an exit onto surface streets that would have placed him close to the spot where the fire started but does not exactly specify where he stopped.Investigators pulled surveillance video from the casino and the gas station and did not find images of Oyler at either location during the times he said he was there, according to the affidavit, which was given to the AP by a person close to the investigation. The person insisted on anonymity because all documents in the case have been sealed.The fire charred more than 60 square miles about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. The firefighters died when they were overrun by flames as they tried to protect a house in Twin Pines.Oyler was charged Nov. 2 with multiple counts of murder and arson, and could face the death penalty. He also is charged with starting 10 other fires in the same area since early June.