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Woman Arrested For Starting Blaze That Injured Fresno Fire Captain

Apr 23, 2015

Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis announced the arrest at the press conference at Fire Department Headquarters on Thursday.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Authorities have arrested a woman in connection with the structure fire that seriously injured Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern last month. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports. 

Julia Harper is facing charges of unlawfully causing a fire which causes great bodily injury. Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis announced the arrest at a press conference Thursday.

Donis: “During the investigation, Harper admitted to her responsibility for starting this fire.”

Investigators refused to detail how Harper allegedly started the blaze, saying it was too early in the legal process. 

Officials did say that before the fire began, Fresno Police had been called to the home for a verbal dispute between Harper and another person. 

If convicted, Harper could face up to seven years in prison for starting the March 29th blaze.

Dern was standing on top of an attached garage when he fell through the roof into a fireball, suffering 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 65 to 75 percent of his body. Dern underwent another surgery Thursday at Community Regional Medical Center.