A man already in prison for arson is facing new charges that he set fires as a diversion to burglarize fire stations in Southern California.
Prosecutors contend that 21-year-old Christian Saddler of Hesperia caused more than $5 million in damage.
The Orange County Fire Authority on Tuesday announced new charges against Saddler, a onetime member of San Bernardino County’s Fire Explorer program.
Authorities say Saddler set fires to divert crews in order to steal cash and personal items from Orange County stations.
KTLA-TV reports that one fire spread to a Santa Ana apartment building where families slept. They escaped without injury.
Authorities say they suspect Saddler also set fires in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.
Saddler currently is serving five years for arson and burglary involving other cases.