East Bay police arrest woman for allegedly starting fire that prompted evacuations

Police lights in front of shrubbery.
A suspect is in custody after allegedly starting a fire that prompted evacuations in an East Bay city on Sunday afternoon. Photo credit vmargineauu/iStock/Getty Images Plus

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – A suspect is in custody after allegedly starting a fire that prompted evacuations in an East Bay city on Sunday afternoon.

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The Albany Police Department arrested 31-year-old Megan Strahl on suspicion of arson, spokesperson Brennen Brown told KCBS Radio on Monday afternoon. Strahl is being held on $115,000 bail at Santa Rita Jail, according to Alameda County Sheriff's Office records, and she is set to be arraigned at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Albany police and firefighters responded to a fire at the corner of Washington and Cleveland avenues at 3:24 p.m. on Sunday, according to an Albany Police Department release. First responders then discovered a second fire on the west side of Albany Hill.

Police said a security guard alerted a nearby officer "of a possible suspect who may have set the fire on Albany Hill." That person was Strahl, according to Brown, and the department said officers took her into custody "without incident."

No structures were damaged and no people were injured during Sunday's wildland fires, which Brown said drew mutual aid from nearby Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

Officials ordered evacuations for just shy of two hours on Gateview Avenue, Hillside Avenue and Taft Street, lifting each at around 6:43 p.m. Residents on the 400, 500 and 600 blocks of Jackson Street were asked to shelter in place.

Albany police said witnesses who saw the fires start, or those who have "information regarding suspicious activity in the area" before the blazes began, can call the department at 1-510-525-7300.

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