Eerie details revealed in capture of suspected arsonist

REDDING, Calif. - The more than 90-page affidavit reveals chilling clues as to how the man suspected of sparking the Clover Fire was caught.

The Clover Fire chewed through more than 8,000 acres, destroyed 60 homes and claimed one life in September 2013.

In the affidavit CAL FIRE officials reveal it was their cameras set up days before the Clover Fire that helped them catch 29-year-old Zane Peterson.

They also said Peterson was bold enough to attend a morning field briefing and chat-up a Battalion Chief.

It was 8:30 a.m. Wednesday Sept. 18, and firefighters were gathering to plan for the day at Clear Creek and Cloverdale Roads in the Igo and Happy Valley area.

CAL FIRE officials said a white Toyota Tacoma rolled up on the scene and a man in his late 20s approached the group.

CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Dave Hotchkiss  thought his presence was strange, so he walked over.

The man - shared his firefighting background, even making suggestions about where to send resources.

Hotchkiss listened and observed.

He was curious why this man was so interested in the briefing.

The man stayed about five minutes, then took off.

Hotchkiss made sure to take  down his plate.

The registered owner of the vehicle was Randall Peterson.

The driver was his son Zane.

It's just one,  in a series of eerie tales,  told by CAL FIRE investigators in the affidavit.

It's how they convinced a judge to issue a warrant  for Zane Peterson's arrest.

Another example was on Monday, Sept. 16, at 7:12 p.m.

CAL FIRE investigators Hawkins and Finn were questioning Zane and Randall Peterson at their home for the very first time.

The interview had been scheduled for the next day, however Zane wanted it to happen sooner.

He apparently told investigators it was because he was, "so damn curious."

Zane then did a little foreshadowing, noting that if the fire were ruled arson it would mean a murder charge.

Camera, GPS devices and surveillance footage led to his arrest.

Investigators believe Peterson started seven fires, the Clover Fire by far the worst.

He's set to be back in court Jan. 16.

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