GRASS VALLEY, Calif. September 17, 2016 – On September 17, at 1:30 pm, Grass Valley Fire and Police personnel were dispatched to a vegetation fire in the area of S. Auburn Street and Whiting Street in Grass Valley. The first Grass Valley Police unit to arrive detained an adult male with burn injuries to his lower legs who was walking away from the fire. After speaking with him and witnesses, the officer placed him under arrest for arson.

The suspect is identified as 52-year-old David Holm. Holm has been a transient of the Grass Valley area for many years.

The investigation is ongoing, but at this point, it appears that the fire started in a wooded area where Holm was camping and was possibly caused by a cigarette.

Holm was transported to the UC Davis Medical Center for treatment of burn injuries to his lower legs and for smoke inhalation.

Editor’s note: Updates on the Auburn Fire are here.

17 replies on “Arson arrest made related to Auburn Fire in Grass Valley”

  1. Doesn’t this sound more like an accident than arson? Arson is deliberately starting a fire. Sounds like this guy fell asleep with a cigarette or something….

  2. I agree with George Schroder. Arson is deliberate. If the cause was a cigerette and the man had burns on his legs, then it sounds accidental and like he was trying to put out the flames. If this had been an employed family man or other “respected” citizen, instead of a homeless man, I doubt that the headline would be accusing the man of arson. This is biased reporting and something that is all too common when it comes to reporting on the homeless.

    1. Happy Sunday to you Heather,

      Note that we approved your comment bashing us, because an explanation seems in order for people like you who are unaware of how arson is defined in California. Here’s why it is arson: You start a fire on a property that is not yours, you are charged with arson. It doesn’t matter if it is a private or public property. There are two types of arson charges, one is a misdemeanor, the other is felony arson. Actually, you can even be charged with arson if you start a fire on your own property. If you want to learn more, here are the relevant CA Penal Codes: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=450-457.1

      1. I don’t understand, then. The reference define arson as:

        451. A person is guilty of arson when he or she willfully and
        maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids,
        counsels, or procures the burning of, any structure, forest land, or

    2. Please note that it is NOT the headlines that are accusing this man of arson, it is law enforcement. The media simply reports what has happened, I.E., a man was arrested at the scene and charged with arson. In fact, the headline says nothing about the man being homeless and you have to read through the second paragraph to learn his name and status in the community (transient for many years). I don’t see any bias in that.

  3. anyone ever question the sanity of who writes the penal code system and ‘laws’ on the books? i am currently after reading the details from this arson thread. burn the books we need a rewrite of all laws imo

  4. People who smoke need to stop and put out their butts entirely. The drought in Cali need only a spark and flames go up quickly. It is unfortunate that a person who is down and out now faces strong arson accusations because properties lost need accountability. He will probably do more time than that behind the dumpster rapist.

  5. It’s arson, people who throw cigarettes out windows don’t plan on starting a fire but sometimes it does. It just comes down to common sense, would a cigarette really cause a fire a person couldn’t get out within a few minutes I don’t think so. I believe something else might have started it, for it to get out of his control like that. A cigarette really I don’t think so.

  6. What is truly tragic is that as the USA continues its downward spiral into third world status and more people become homeless, incidents like this will only increase. There needs to be a real movement to take care of those thrown away by society and then further demonized when things like this happen. Too many people still blame the homeless for their predicament. Many people I know who consider themselves liberal and caring fall into this mentality of blaming the victims for their homelessness.

  7. it was my son that started this fire…arson is intent ..he didn’t do it intentionally…and furthermore he had suffered severe burns when he was younger when his friends thought it was funny to douse him with lighter fluid and light him up..so his legs were severely burned already..He spent a month I believe in St. Helena Hospital and has skin grafts mesh showing on his legs and scaring….He is afraid of fire due to the pain he suffered then..Now he is suffering severe pain again..So why would he intentionally start a fire when he knows and had endured excrutatiaing pain before..I do not condone this or make excuses..but to label it arson is pretty quick with no investigation..He cooperated..He told me he tried to put it out when it surrounded him and stumbled out and told someone to call 911..He wasn’t fleeing..He is a schizophrenic and homeless an alcoholic as most mentally ill are.. ..I stopped the next day when the fire engines and dozer were taking on water to say how sorry I was..they were so kind and said no one was hurt(but David) no homes or structures were burned..David was life flighted to UCDavis with 3rd degree burns on his legs which had damaged skin already..I am still sorry for them all being in harms way..David is terrified as well he should be..and suffering so that he had to hang up..I am a mother and would feel badly for anyone so burned in this kind of event..I have lived here since ’76 ..was a grocery cashier for 27 years at the Lucky store..fire is a big threat to us…but he did not mean to do it….I am not excusing this just stating my opinion as I have on my facebook page..

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