Santa Barbara Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Goleta man early Tuesday morning after he allegedly started a structure fire, injuring one woman who was in the residence at the time.

According to Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Raquel Zick, deputies responded along with Santa Barbara County Fire to a structure fire around 4:30 a.m. at a residence near Calle Real and Salisbury Avenue in Goleta, where the night before there had been a report of a suspect “exhibiting strange behavior.”

Deputies had contacted 43-year-old Christopher Vance, in the prior incident, and were in the process of conducting a follow-up that included a “request for a mental health evaluation,” Zick said.

As fire crews attempted to knock down the structure fire, Sheriff’s deputies learned Vance had most likely started the fire, before at some point “discharging a firearm” and fleeing the scene.

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Backup arrived, along with California Highway Patrol, to secure the area while County Fire worked on the fire and deputies searched for Vance. 

An emergency notification was sent out in the area, encouraging neighbors to stay inside while deputies searched for the suspect. Several residents called 9-1-1 and reported seeing Vance, who was attempting to “force his way into homes,” Zick said. 

Vance was tracked down a couple of blocks away from the incident and taken into custody. He was transported to the hospital to be treated for injuries before being taken to County Jail. A woman inside the residence was also injured in the fire and is expected to recover from her injuries.

Vance was booked on two misdemeanor and four felony charges, Zick said, including prowling (misdemeanor), resisting arrest (misdemeanor), vandalism (felony), burglary (felony), shooting at an inhabited dwelling (felony), and arson of an inhabited dwelling (felony). 

He was given an “enhanced bail” of $500,000 due to the seriousness of the charges.

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