The alleged involvement in triggering multiple fires close to the national forest land led to the arrest of a Bay Area college professor.
Gary Maynard, 47, is currently detained in the Sacramento County Jail.
According to investigators, the professor is now facing accusations of triggering multiple fires near the huge Dixie Fire.
A woman, who claims to be a roommate of the accused, told KRON4 that the professor is intelligent but with several issues. She added that she cannot imagine how he has the capability to start an arson.
The professor has handled crime and sociology classes at multiple colleges in California.
According to the authorities, Maynard may have started multiple fires in the past week and that he is considered to be a threat to the people. They added that the professor has started some seven fires close to Lassen and Shasta-Trinity National Forests.
The allegations against him shocked his ex-roommate.
“He’s a kind person but he deals with mental illness and I just, I didn’t think he was capable of doing something like this so I’m in shock,” his roommate and friend, Kathryn Charpentier said.
Based on the account of Charpentier, the professor got trouble in staying on his jobs at varied schools in the Bay Area. Among the schools he worked for, having a Ph.D. in Sociology and three master’s degrees, were Santa Clara University and Sonoma State.
His friend said Maynard has no home and finds it hard to land a job. He had gone to the Lassen area to survive.
“I gave him a couple cars to live in so he’s been living in the cars that I gave him,” his friend said.
According to court documents, a U.S. Forest Service officer placed a tracking device under Maynard’s vehicle, which eventually led to his arrest.
The professor is now suspected to have set fire between July 6 and August 7.
Mental health issues are recognized by the federal judge who handles the case, KRON4 reported.
“I hope he gets the help he needs. He’s ill. He’s very ill,” Charpentier said.