Arsonist sought in car fire

Authorities are searching for a juvenile suspect accused of causing a car fire Friday night that forced evacuation of nearly 200 patrons and employees at Ironwood Cinema.

East Fork Fire inspector Terry Taylor described the suspect as a white male juvenile, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with long, straight blond hair, wearing a black T-shirt and dark shorts.

"The investigation indicates he lit a firework and threw it into the car and took off," Taylor said. "The fire was intentionally set."

Taylor said he would seek felony arson charges.

He said the suspect bought fireworks from a juvenile at Westwood Park near the movie theater earlier in the evening.

Taylor said he would seek charges against the seller as well.

"Here you have an individual selling them in the middle of one of the hottest weekends of the year. Obviously, he's more interested in money than responsibility," Taylor said.

"Possession, sales and use of fireworks is 100 percent prohibitive in this entire area," he said. "It's not just Douglas County, but Carson City, Reno, Washoe County, the Lake Tahoe Basin."

The car belonged to Ironwood projectionist David Trumbo-Godwin, 20.

Taylor said damage was confined to the interior of the 1998 Saturn, 4-door sedan, but the car was a total loss.

"In this kind of fire, the real danger is the smoke with all that plastic burning," Taylor said. "You get a lung full and it gets very bad. The other concern is things in cars go pop and bang. Glass comes out, bumpers fly off and tires pop. Those things can hurt, especially in the summer when you're dressed for play in shorts and shirtsleeves."

Taylor said the theater was evacuated as the fire scorched an outside back wall.

"A little bit of smoke got into the building," Taylor said. "A 40-year-old female inhaled smoke from the fire and was treated and released."

Theater manager Lori Pulver said she was on her way home from Elko when she was notified of the incident. She said the crew handled the evacuation and issued refunds and movie passes to the patrons who were attending the late show.

"One belligerent customer wanted gas mileage. He said he lived an hour away," Pulver said. "We told him there was a fire at the building and he said he didn't care, he wanted to see the movie."

For Trumbo-Godwin who walked out of the theater to find his car on fire, the evening was far more traumatic.

"Somebody comes in and says a car is on fire," said the 20-year-old Western Nevada Community College student.

"I got really mad and I kind of snapped and freaked out. I got close to it and it kind of exploded in my face."

Trumbo-Godwin said he thinks he was targeted because his car was unlocked. But, in his role as theater usher, he occasionally has had to evict unruly patrons.

"I guess somebody could hold a grudge for me kicking them out of the theater," he said.

Trumbo-Godwin said he had liability insurance, but nothing to cover replacing the car.

"The thing is, I kind of live in my car," he said. "All my CDs, 85 percent of my possessions were in there. Music is like my passion. The day before the fire, I had taken my guitar out to restring it. If I hadn't, that would be gone, too."

Among the ruins, Trumbo-Godwin found a genealogy book he said traces his family to the Viking invasion of Normandy.

The cover was burned and the pages were water-logged, but at least Trumbo-Godwin had recovered the precious book.

"This whole thing was so pointless," he said. "I don't have any money and I lost everything I love."


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