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Amanda Bynes' mental health hold after fire could last two weeks

Actress Amanda Bynes could remain in a mental health facility for up to two weeks after authorities detained her Monday night in front of a Thousand Oaks home, according to a source familiar with the case.

Bynes was detained by Ventura County sheriff's deputies Monday and hospitalized for a mental health evaluation after she set a small fire in front the home. Authorities said she had no connection to the home.

Bynes, who is already facing drug charges in New York, was taken into custody for her own safety under California's Welfare and Institutions Code, known as a 5150 hold, following a disturbance in Thousands Oaks residential neighborhood, said Sheriff's Capt. Don Aguilar.

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Typically, such holds last for only 72 hours. But a source close to the case, who asked not to be named, said authorities could seek to have the order extended for up to two weeks if they can show she is a danger to herself and others.

Deputies responded to a home in the 200 block of Avenida De Los Arboles about 8:46 p.m.

"There was a call about a small fire that she'd apparently set in front of the residence, kind of out on a sidewalk on the concrete," said Sgt. Eric Buschow. "It wasn't an attempt to burn down the house or anything."

Buschow said the fire did not damage the property.

Aguilar said "deputies investigated the incident and determined that she met the criteria of 5150.... She was detained and taken for a mental health evaluation."

In May, Manhattan prosecutors charged Bynes with attempted evidence tampering, reckless endangerment and marijuana possession after New York police alleged she tossed a bong out of her apartment.

It was the latest in a string of erratic behavior from the "Hairspray" and "She's the Man" star, who wrote on Twitter after the incident in New York: "I'm Not Crazy."

Her attorney in Los Angeles, Richard Hutton, said afterward his client was "fine" and recent reports were "exaggerated."

Bynes has had a series of runs in with authorities in Los Angeles County that resulted in several auto-related charges.

In one of the incidents, near the corner of Robertson and Santa Monica boulevards, she was taken into custody by deputies after her car struck a sheriff’s cruiser. She was detained on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Shortly after the arrest, she posted a message on Twitter asking President Obama to fire the deputy who made the arrest, saying she does not drink alcohol.

In the months that followed, she was charged in two alleged hit-and-runs involving other motorists, but a judge dismissed those cases after she and insurers reached a civil settlement with those involved.

Last year, her attorney entered a no-contest plea for Bynes to a charge of driving with a suspended license in a case filed by Burbank prosecutors. Her license had been suspended after the series of driving incidents. Bynes was placed on three years' informal probation and ordered to pay a fine while a second charge was dismissed.

In the recent New York case, an employee at the 47th Street high-rise where Bynes lives reported to police that she was smoking marijuana in the building's lobby, acting erratically and supposedly talking to herself, according to authorities.

Bynes has denied using drugs and said the alleged bong was actually a plant vase.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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