The woman arrested on aggravated arson charges after three Portola homes were destroyed by fire Sept. 1 could face more than 30 years in prison.
Hana Saeko Nay, 45, faces felony arson charges with enhancements for burning multiple structures.
She is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm as well as vandalism.
If convicted of the charges, any potential sentence could be doubled because Nay has a strike against her for a previous felony conviction.
Nay was sentenced to 16 months in prison in 2006 for negligent discharge of a firearm.
“This is an exceptionally serious crime,” Plumas County District Attorney David Hollister said. “It endangered not just the three people in the immediate area, but our emergency responders as well.”
Nay is also being investigated for an Aug. 24 incident of driving under the influence and possession of methamphetamine.
According the 911 call log for Sept. 1, Nay was reported to have made suicidal statements. She also stated that she was “torching the place.”
Three adults, including Nay’s 19-year-old daughter Katie Nay, were reportedly in the residence at 65 West Magnolia when the fire was started.
All three escaped without injury.
However, some of the 50 firefighting personnel at the scene were treated for smoke inhalation, according to Beckwourth Fire Chief Greg McCaffrey.
McCaffrey was the incident commander of the firefighting operations that included men and vehicles from Portola, Eastern Plumas, Plumas Eureka, Sierra Valley, Quincy and the U.S. Forest Service.
McCaffrey said 28 vehicles, including 10 engines, were dispatched.
The California Highway Patrol and the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office were on the scene with six officers.
“I do want to thank all of the firefighters and all of the citizens who helped contain the fire,” said Plumas County Supervisor Terry Swofford, whose home and business was threatened by the fire. “It really could have been much worse.”
McCaffrey said the blaze was under control in less than an hour and was extinguished in two hours.
The fire also destroyed the homes at 480 Ridge Street and 460 Ridge Street.
Helping the victims
Portola businesses have been holding fundraisers to help people whose homes were destroyed.
On Thursday, Sept. 15, there will be a dinner fundraiser from 4:30 to 9 p.m. at Lena’s Cantina in Portola.
Three dollars from each plate and all tips will be donated to the fire victims.
Donations are also being collected at the Pizza Factory in Portola, where Katie Nay, who reportedly lost all of her possessions in the fire, is an employee.
The Bank Club in Portola has also set up a donation jar for Katie Nay.
On Sept. 7, there was a fundraiser dinner at Sharon’s Cafe in Portola.
Katie Nay said she has been overwhelmed by the support she has received from the community.
“I’m very grateful, and I want to thank everyone in Portola for all of the help and support I’ve received,” Katie Nay said.
Accounts for Katie Nay and Carol Holland have been established at Plumas Bank.
Holland lost all of her possessions in her Ridge Street home.
Any teller at the bank is available to assist people with donations.
People can also donate by calling the bank at 832-4405, and asking for Rachelle Ramelli at ext. 1201.
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