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Lake County Residents Enraged At Clayton Fire Suspect

LOWER LAKE (CBS SF) -- The former inmate who once worked the fire lines in Lake County is back in jail Tuesday night, and people burned out of their Lower Lake homes aren't holding back their anger.

40-year-old Damin Pashilk is behind bars charged with 17 counts of arson. It is a crime he's accused of committing not just in starting the Clayton Fire, but others over several months.

• PHOTOS: Clayton Fire Burns Lake County

"I can't release if there were multiple ignitions of a single fire, but it is safe to say he is responsible for starting several fires here in Lake County over the last year or two," said Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin.

Pashilk learned about wildland fires from the state itself.

When serving five years for drugs and firearms charges, the state trained him as an inmate firefighter.

He spent time on the fire lines in Trinity County.

Since his release, records show he has had 6 parole violations.

"A lot of details in this investigation are being withheld," said Martin. "And the reason for that is we want to make sure we have a good prosecution and that the criminal justice system takes its place."

Meanwhile, The details about his arrest continue to shock the community.

People used Pashilk's own Facebook page to lash out.

A woman named Kate wrote, "The SOB has been burning out county down. I thought I was being paranoid thinking it was arson because I didn't want to believe someone could do this sort of thing."

Another post called Pashilk a bastard for starting the fire in Lake County and said "get 'em folks."

On Tuesday, CBS SF learned that just two weeks ago, Pashlik joined a radio scanner group that posts details of Lake County's fire calls and includes information on the aftermath.

"If he is found guilty, obviously he poses a significant danger to the public and that is the reason for the increased bail amount," said Martin.

Meanwhile, the people affected by the Clayton Fire who have lost their homes are asking how someone who was on the radar of law enforcement for over a year without being arrested.

Pashilk is due to be in court Wednesday.

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