Guns, flames in Manila

Sheriff's deputies enter a homeless camp in Manila with rifles drawn because they thought there was a gunman in the area.

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

MANILA – A fire broke out Friday, Aug 18 around 9:30 a.m. at a homeless encampment in Manila, sending a plume of black smoke into the sky and closing down State Route 255 for a couple hours. One man was arrested and booked into the county jail.

Anthony Domenicio

Initial reports indicated that there was an assault and possibly a shooting, so Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene heavily armed and provided cover for firefighters. It was later determined that no shots had been fired,

The encampment is located on the east side of the highway near the railroad tracks south of Pacific Avenue.

When deputies arrived, they were approached by 56-year old Anthony Michael Domenicio, who enthusiastically tried to tell them stories about the camp. He was told to step aside.

When firefighters arrived, Domenicio raised his hands in the air and bellowed “Woo hoo!”

Domenicio, who lives in the encampment, told the Union that about six people occupy the site along Humboldt Bay. He said that there has been an ongoing dispute with one of the occupants, who he claimed set his own shack on fire, then left the area.

Deputies warned a Union reporter to stay away from the bushy area, as there was a suspect or suspects in the area who were known to be armed.

Domenicio said that the person who started the fire is in possession of a firearm, but had left the area on foot.

But, by the time the fire was out and the search was over, deputies decided that Domenicio was responsible for both the fire and a related assault.

He was arrested on suspicion of assault and arson and booked into the county jail.

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