Ashland arson suspect to get psychiatric evaluation

Medford, Ore — The man accused of lighting his car on fire near Emigrant Lake, just minutes after the Almeda Fire began, appeared in court Thursday.

45-year-old Vance Nguyen’s attorney requested a continuance, because they are waiting on a psychiatric report. That report could open up the possibility for Nguyen to plead guilty except for insanity.

Nguyen is charged with first degree arson after firefighters found his car on fire with a propane tank on top.

Luckily the direction of winds that day prevented the fire from spreading to nearby brush.

Nguyen will undergo an examination at the Oregon State Hospital before the motion is entered into the courts.

The investigation into what or who started the Almeda Fire is ongoing.

A man was arrested for starting a 2nd fire in Phoenix, that merged with the original  Almeda fire. Michael Bakkela is facing numerous charges, including arson and animal abuse among others in that case.


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Matt Jordan is the Chief Meteorologist for KOBI-TV NBC5. Matt joined the NBC5 weather team in 2014 after a year as a reporter and anchor in Alexandria, Louisiana. His experience with the severe weather of the Deep South and a love of the Pacific Northwest led him to pursue a certification with Mississippi State University as a Broadcast Meteorologist. You can find Matt working in the evenings of NBC5 News at 5, 6 and 11 as well as online. Matt also has a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. In addition to being passionate about news and weather, Matt is a BIG Oregon Ducks fan. When not rooting for the Ducks or tracking down the next storm over the Pacific, Matt can be found outdoors in the Oregon wilderness with his wife, his daughter and their dogs Stanley and Gordi.
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