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Man arrested after fire melts portable toilet

A Klamath Falls man has been arrested in connection with a construction debris fire early Tuesday morning outside the Women's Health Center of La Clinica in Medford.

Dwayne Carl Lee, 56, of the 800 block of Walnut Street, Klamath Falls, was arrested on a felony charge of first-degree arson and a misdemeanor charge of first-degree criminal mischief after video surveillance footage of a construction fire reported at 5 a.m. Tuesday at 910 S. Central Ave. was determined to be intentionally set.

According to a Medford police media release, Mercy Flights emergency services personnel discovered the fire and helped extinguish the flames before Medford Fire and Rescue responded. Investigators concluded that heavy rains also assisted in controlling the fire, and investigators believe under different weather conditions, the fire could have damaged the building.  The fire was feet away from the concrete La Clinica building but did not catch it on fire. The fire was isolated to construction debris and the portable toilet, which was completely melted in the fire.

From the surveillance footage, investigators determined Lee allegedly set a fire within the plastic portable toilet which had been filled with construction debris. In the video, the suspect was allegedly caught on camera watching the fire for a short time and leaving the scene and heading south.

After reviewing the surveillance footage, detectives checked with nearby businesses when they found Lee, wearing the same clothes as in the surveillance video, at the Circle K and 76 gas station at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Barnett Road.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, Lee admitted to police that he started the fire, and Lee told police he set the fire because he was angry with his daughter.  Lee was lodged in jail today on $65,000 bail and later released.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Man arrested after fire melts portable toilet