Home NEWS Police/Fire ConFire Investigators Make Arrest After Series Of Clayton-Area Trail Fires

ConFire Investigators Make Arrest After Series Of Clayton-Area Trail Fires

Isaiah Javier Ortiz. Photo: ConFire

CONCORD, CALIF., Oct. 4, 2019 – Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) today announced the arrest of a suspect in a series of four suspicious fires along a walking trail in the City of Clayton last month.

The fires took place in September in the same general area of a walking trail running through dry grass, trees, bushes, and very near homes in Clayton. Each fire had the potential for devastating results as they occurred at the height wildfire season in an area with abundant fuels dried and ready to feed potentially destructive and deadly fires.

Investigators arrested Isaiah Javier Ortiz, 21, a Clayton resident. Earlier this week, the District Attorney’s Office filed four felonies against Ortiz related to these incidents.

“These crimes put our community at considerable risk at the height of the fire season. The resulting arrest comes as a result of the collective work of our Fire Investigation Unit, Clayton Police Department, and the office of the Contra Costa County District Attorney,” said Lewis T. Broschard III, Fire Chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “In this District, we take
fire investigation very seriously and I am particularly proud of the collaborative effort that has led to this arrest.”

ConFire responded to four separate vegetation fires in the city of Clayton in September. Investigators with the the District’s Fire Investigations Unit, part of the Fire Prevention Bureau, determined early in the series that the fires were likely being intentionally set. Working with the Clayton Police Department, Con Fire investigators were able to develop leads and locate witnesses, ultimately resulting in the arrest of the suspect.

The suspect is currently incarcerated in the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Martinez Detention Center pending action on the case by the District Attorney


  1. Where do these fools come from? Setting fires in California – good one. I hope they throw the book at you.

  2. If I were judge I’d send him to Paradise the city and make him help clean up there. Sitting in jail is too easy.

  3. We have a serious mental health crisis in this country. That is directly related to decades of declining social and economic mobility. Meaning we are creating, with our two-class, winner take all society, an endless supply of angry mentally ill people with few prospects in life looking to make sure that we all feel their pain. This person deserves punishment, but there is an endless supply of people just like him and worse, and not much “community” left to notice who these people are until it’s too late. We could do something about our social and economic decline, we could something about the sorry state of mental healthcare in this country, but that would take money and with a shrinking middle class there’s no place to get it save for making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes– and that share that they used to pay has been in steady decline for more than a generation. In other words, we get the society that we pay for.

  4. We’ve always had a serious mental health crisis in this country. Mental health is like physical health – it’s your health. Declining social and economic mobility is not the cause of mental illness. That’s ridiculous. Having few prospects in life doesn’t cause mental illness anymore than moving to Marin will cause breast cancer in women. Please educate yourself. I do believe that arsonists are probably struggling with mental illness.

    • Social and economic mobility has a huge and direct impact on a populations mental health– and there are plenty of studies out that that prove just that. Please educate yourself. Why do you think the US is number one with a bullet in mass shooting– by miles– no other country even comes close? Do you also believe that guns and mental health are unrelated– or that living a live of little to no opportunity has no impact on mental health? Highly unequal societies suffer from increased mental health issues and decreased biological viability. In an effort to educate you, try this if you dare: http://theconversation.com/how-neoliberalism-is-damaging-your-mental-health-90565

      • As a former member of the medical profession (with an advanced degree – UCLA) I educated myself a long time ago. It might take a toll on your mental well-being, but it doesn’t cause mental illness. (Schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, etc.). There’s a difference. I believe guns and mental illness are related. Most shooters probably are struggling with mental illness. But their mental illness wasn’t caused by their plot in life.

        I do understand that society doesn’t understand mental illness. The medical profession understands, and I have no idea if people with mental illness really know. They probably know something is different from the rest of us.

        Back to postseason baseball. Staycations are relaxing…

        • Your lengthy argument misleads. Deteriorating economic conditions “aggravate” mental illness. So they contribute. Fractured communities– especially economically fractured ones, are less likely to notice it. Constant refrain from the neighbors of mass shooters– “he was a quiet fellow, kept to himself…”. I am shocked that, with your education, you are not already aware of this and the growing body of evidence that supports it. Many specific conditions like schizophrenia span all income brackets, but more generally, the more dysfunctional or unstable the environment the more mental illness is triggered. In highly unequal societies such as our own the negatives impact all groups to varying degrees. More people snap as environments become less stable or livable. This is hardly rocket science. Giving people in situations like this a handful of meds, with no change or improvement to their environment and its triggers, only prolongs the suffering and foams the runway for future breakdowns.

          • Mental Illness vs. Mental Health

            “Mental illness refers to a recognized, diagnosed disorder. Mental illness is designed specifically as a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental process underlying mental function.”

            Mental health, on the other hand speaks to our mental well-being; the full spectrum of…”

            Because so many people think of the two terms in the same way…”

            Deteriorating economic conditions “aggravate” mental health, not mental illness. We’re all at risk for stressors “aggravating” our mental health. One in five Americans is mentally ill. The other eighty percent of us aren’t dealing with mental illness.

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