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Suspect arrested in Vilas Road structure fire

Ralph Richard Bare, 53, was arrested by Medford police for first-degree arson after starting a structure fire in the 1200 block of East Vilas Road that was reported after 6 p.m Thursday.

Bare was detained in the area where the fire occurred, according to Medford police. They estimate damage of $25,000.

Bare is being held in the Jackson County Jail. Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia raised Bare’s bail amount from $20,000 to $100,000 during a court appearance on Friday afternoon.

One of conditions of bail include the provision that he not possess any incendiary devices.

Bare had been camping in one of the abandoned structures in the area at the time of the fire, according to a social media post from the police department.

While there is no clear motive for Bare setting the fire, “drug use is believed to be a contributing factor,” police noted.

The Medford Fire Department investigation into the Thursday structure fire is continuing and the department has reported no injuries to civilians or firefighters in the blaze.

Court documents list two counts of first-degree arson having been brought against Bare. Police say Bare set fire to one structure but that the fire quickly spread to a neighboring structure and did the most damage to that structure.

A fire occurred at an abandoned mobile home along the same road Tuesday night, according to the Medford Fire Department.

Police have not confirmed whether Bare was involved with the earlier event, but they were looking at the possibility.