Robbers Fire suspect faces added allegations

Bryon Mason, 28, of Sacramento, now facing multiple charges
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - The suspect in starting the 2,650-acre wildfire is to make his first court appearance Tuesday. Bryon Craig Mason, 28, of Sacramento, is slated to be arraigned at North Auburn?s Placer County Jail courtroom at 1 p.m. Tuesday ? five days after his arrest in Sacramento County. Mason was arrested on an initial charge that he started the Robbers Fire July 11 between Colfax and Foresthill with what is being described as a pyrotechnic device. The list of charges has grown since Mason?s Friday afternoon arrest to include a count of possession of fireworks under the state Health & Safety Code and a felony charge of child endangerment, Placer County jail records show. In addition, the single charge of unlawfully and recklessly causing a fire has now been expanded to causing bodily injury by starting the blaze, starting a fire that burned on forest land, and damaging structures. In making the arrest Friday, Cal Fire and Placer County Sheriff?s Office officials praised the public for providing tips that helped lead to an arrest. Cal Fire Unit Chief Brad Harris said investigators feel it is a ?very strong case.? Cal Fire estimates that costs for fighting the Robbers Fire are more than $13 million. The blaze was determined to be 100 percent contained by Friday. A single residence and four outbuildings were consumed by the flames, while 170 residences were threatened. Injuries related to the fire that are now part of the charges were judged by Cal Fire to be minor and limited to firefighters. The child endangerment charge had not been explained by authorities late Monday. Jeffrey Wilson, Placer County assistant district attorney, said the office plans to release more information after charges are filed. Fox 40 TV news reported over the weekend that Mason?s wife told a reporter that she thinks the charge relates to her husband being accompanied July 11 by their two younger children and a family friend, who is also a child. Cal Fire is asking any potential witnesses or anyone with information about the fire to call their arson hotline at (800) 468-4408. Callers can remain anonymous. Mason is being held behind bars on a $100,000 bond.