Fire leads to arrest of wanted man in Santa Margarita

March 17, 2023

Photo by Richard Bastian


Fire burned a home, a wanted man was arrested and another suspect escaped during an action-filled Friday morning in Santa Margarita.

Shortly after 7 a.m., a caller reported a fire at a home on Encina Avenue. Along with firefighters, more than a dozen sheriff deputies, Atascadero police officers and CHP officers, four holding AR-15 rifles, crowded onto the street.

Before the fire started, Tulare County Law enforcement informed the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office that two dangerous wanted men were possibly holed up in a home in Santa Margarita. The addresses of the fire and location of the suspects were on the same lot.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, but stood down with the walls still spewing smoke while law enforcement moved in with  guns drawn.

Deputies detained a woman and one of the wanted men, while the other suspect escaped down an alley. Dogs were brought in to assist with the search.

During their investigation, deputies deemed the scorched room off the garage a crime scene, closed off the area with crime scene tape and noted plans to secure several search warrants.


Photos by Richard Bastian:

Deputies watch while firefighters battle the blaze


A firefighter searching the site


Sheriff deputy and Atascadero police officer


Firefighter moves back in after law enforcement secures the scene


Smoke drifts from the home


Firefighters and law enforcement at the scene


Dogs arrive at the scene

Dogs search for the missing suspect


Atascadero officer and sheriff deputies


Deputies secure the scene with crime tape

Sign up for breaking news, alerts and updates with Cal Coast News Top Stories.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I was passed by two unmarked cars with lights and siren northbound south of the Grade. Saw an Atascadero Police car with lights and siren southbound north of Santa Margarita. Someone was having a party. CCN first, as always.