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Woman charged with arson after blaze destroys three Portola homes

Dan McDonald
Staff Writer
9/7/2011

A woman is in custody on charges of arson after three Portola homes were destroyed by fire Thursday afternoon, Sept. 1.

According to the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call came in at 12:50 p.m. reporting a home at 65 West Magnolia was fully engulfed in fire.

The Portola Fire Department arrived minutes later and was shortly joined by Beckwourth fire.

Beckwourth Fire Chief Greg McCaffrey was the incident commander at the scene. He said the fire was under control in less than an hour. He added it took two hours to completely extinguish the fire.

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McCaffrey said three houses and several structures attached to the homes were “completely destroyed.”

Hana Nay was arrested and charged with starting the fire, which was ignited while her 19-year-old daughter Katie Nay was reportedly asleep in a bedroom.

Nay escaped without injury.

According to the police log, Nay was charged with three counts of arson.

The 911 call log states that Nay reportedly made suicidal statements. She also stated that she was “torching the place.”

The other two homes destroyed by the fire were located at 480 Ridge Street and 460 Ridge Street.

According to Portola Fire Chief Travis Schiavone, there was mutual aid from four other fire departments: Eastern Plumas, Plumas Eureka, Sierra Valley and Quincy.

The U.S. Forest Service also responded to the call.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

McCaffrey said there were 50 personnel at the scene of the fire and 28 vehicles, including 10 engines.

The California Highway Patrol and the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office were on scene with six officers.

McCaffrey said several firefighters were treated for exhaustion, dehydration and smoke inhalation. They were all treated at the scene and released.

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