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Oakdale man accused in a string of arsons

State Fire Marshal
Posted at 8:14 AM, May 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-10 09:14:49-04

An Oakdale man has been booked with arson, accused of a string of intentionally set fires.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) booked Michael Laird, 33, with four counts of Simple Arson and one count of Manufacture and Possession of Delayed Action Incendiary Devices.

He's accused of setting fire to three vacant houses and several pieces of heavy equipment at a business.

The investigation began last week on Wednesday, when the Oakdale Fire Department responded to two separate house fire calls within minutes of one another.

The first was located in the 400 block of West Sixth Avenue and the second was located in the 200 block of West Seventh Avenue. While fire crews were arriving to these scenes, a third house fire was discovered in the 700 block of Matthews Street.

All of the structures were vacant houses and no one was injured.

Following an assessment of the scenes, SFM deputies determined the fires were intentionally set and connected.

Then, around 4 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, Oakdale FD responded to a report of a tractor on fire at a business located in the 200 block of U.S. Highway 165. When fire crews arrived, they discovered a tractor and a lawnmower on fire.

An RTV parked near the burning equipment received exposure damage. This fire was also determined to be intentionally set.

As the investigation continued, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 9, Oakdale Police officers encountered Laird with suspicious materials in the parking lot of a business and detained him for questioning, then contacted the SFM.

In an interview with SFM deputies and Oakdale officers, Laird allegedly admitted his role in all four fires and then he was booked.

The SFM would like to thank the Oakdale Police Department for their assistance with this case.