Recent Skinner Butte fire not believed to be arson

Police say several fires in the general area are likely not connected due to different suspect descriptions and methods of operation.

Posted: Jul 28, 2021 10:19 AM

EUGENE, Ore. – A fire at Skinner Butte on Sunday is not believed to have been arson, police say.

Instead, police believe the fire was a case of reckless burning. One witness reported that a suspect was burning garbage.

The fire also doesn’t appear related to the fires that were put out on Skinner Butte on July 10, police added.

On July 25, police responded to reports of smoke rising from the area of Skinner Butte just after 1 p.m. The smoke appeared to be coming from south of the access road to the butte between 255 Lincoln Street and Skinner Butte Loop.

Upon arriving, an officer saw a fire that appeared to be growing in size, and fire crews arrived to put it out. The officer evacuated people in the parking lot area and the case was referred to the arson team for investigation.

Police added in recent months they have also investigated a trash bin fire at Shelton McMurphy House, 303 Willamette St., which happened June 8. The fire spread to the hillside but was put out by firefighters.

However, other than general proximity, police don’t believe these fires are connected. The two fires this month have different suspect descriptions, and the fire at the Shelton McMurphy House had a different method of operation.

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