Man arrested in connection to Newport Beach storage facility fire

- A 47-year-old living in a storage unit was arrested Monday in connection with a four-alarm fire at an outdoor storage facility in Newport Beach that injured two people, including the suspect.

The suspect was identified as Albert Eugene Falk, whose last known address was in Anaheim.

The fire started about 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 11 and spread to 40 outdoor storage units in the 800 block of Production Place, according to the Newport Beach Police Department.

The flames in the open outdoor storage units consumed boats, vehicles and other personal property, said Newport Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Boyles.

Two men, one who suffered third-degree burns and another who suffered smoke inhalation, taken to a hospital.

The fire was knocked down before 5:30 a.m. and the Orange County Arson Task Force, Newport Beach police and Orange County Sheriff's Department Bomb Squad launched an arson investigation.

One firefighter suffered injuries to his neck and back later in the day when a 200-pound post fell on him as he sifted through the rubble during the subsequent follow-up investigation, Boyles said.

The outdoor storage facility consisted of converted carports surrounded by chain-link fencing, police said.

Boyles said transients try to sleep in the units.

Police determined that Falk had been occupying one of the converted carports when the fire broke out.

A warrant for his arrest was obtained and he was taken into custody about 8:15 a.m. in Santa Ana and booked on suspicion of unlawfully causing a fire to an inhabited structure, police said.   

No suspects are outstanding.

The injured firefighter, who had been taken to a hospital for treatment, has since returned to work.

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