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DA: Santa Barbara man charged with felony arson for culvert fire

Montecito Fire Department is investigating a series of fires that broke out in Carpinteria that caused several closures on Northbound Highway 101 throughout Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
Authorities said the fires sparked in the storm drain system underneath Highway 101 and the 5700 block of Via Real.
Posted at 2:45 PM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 22:58:34-05

Formal charges have been filed against a Santa Barbara man who officials say intentionally started the fire that stalled traffic along Hwy 101 through Carpinteria on Saturday night.

Santiago Garcia-Soriano, 24, was arrested on Monday after he admitted to sheriff's deputies that he started the fire, the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday morning.

On Monday night, deputies found him digging into a hillside near a drainage culvert in Carpinteria Creek, a spot believed to be the origin point of the flames.

County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced that Garcia-Soriano has been charged with one felony count of arson of property and one misdemeanor count of possession of cocaine.

Garcia-Soriano has been booked in the Santa Barbara County Southern Branch Jail and is being held on $250,000 bail.

He is set to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday at Santa Barbara Superior Court, Dept. 8.