Deputies: Burglars try to steal gas, start fire at Estacada home

Deputies: Burglars try to steal gas, start fire at Estacada home
(Photo by Estacada Fire District)

ESTACADA, Ore. -- Two men who broke into a house in Estacada started a fire while trying to steal gas from a vehicle in the garage, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said.

The suspects told sheriff's deputies they were drilling into the vehicle's gas tank when the fire suddenly started, according to Lt. Robert Wurpes with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. The fire quickly spread to the house and caused severe damage.

A witness spotted two men drive onto the property on South Feldheimer Road Tuesday afternoon. The driver parked the car in a secluded area and two men walked toward the back of the house, Wurpes said.

The witness told deputies he later saw the two men quickly get into the car and drive away. He called 911 when he saw the fire.

Wurpes said a deputy in the area spotted the suspects' car and took the "slightly singed" men into custody.

James Carden, 48, and Richard Gardner, 22, each face burglary and criminal mischief charges. Deputies took the pair to the Clackamas County Jail. Bail was set at $65,000.

Firefighters said the home's remote location and narrow roads for fire trucks made the fire harder to fight. A damage estimate is unknown at this time.