Officials Search for Arson Suspect after He Ignites Fuel at Watt Avenue Gas Station

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SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District says a man went inside a gas station, purchased a gallon of gas, filled up his gas container and spilled the gasoline near the pump before lighting it on fire Saturday morning.

Marichal Brown was working the cash register at the 76 gas station off of Watt Avenue when the unthinkable happened.

“I looked up and there was this huge fire,” he said. “He spilled gasoline on the floor on purpose, then set the nozzle up and lit a match to it and set it all on fire, as a man just pulled up to pump gas.”

Brown says the gas station was nearly full at the time and he knew customers were in danger.

“I was afraid that it would activate the pump to explode. Once we got everyone to safety, I ran back in and grabbed the fire extinguisher,” he said.

He managed to put the fire out before Metro Fire crews arrived on scene.

Amazingly, no one was injured, but the suspect took off on foot, raising concerns for those living in the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

“I just hope they find that guy because who knows what’s on his mind if he’s going to do something like that and put so many people and things in danger,” said Reggie Williams.

Metro Fire Captain Chris Vestal says his crews are working hard to find this man before he puts anyone else at risk.

“We don’t know what the danger is because we don’t know who he is, we don’t know his motive, and we don’t know what his intentions were,” Vestal said. “We really need help in identifying him and locating him to make sure there’s no danger to the community and to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Brown says he’s still shaken by the incident but is just grateful the situation didn’t take a tragic turn.

“He put a lot of people in danger today and children. I hope they catch him,” Brown expressed.

If you recognize the man in the pictures, you’re urged to call the Metro Fire arson tip line at 916-859-3775 and you may remain anonymous.

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