Sierra Nichole Murdock is the Oregon woman accused of setting multiple fires in Southeast Portland in the early morning hours of October 18.
According to Portland Fire and Rescue, crews extinguished at least six fires between approximately 1:30 a.m. and 4:15 a.m. Murdock was arrested at Southeast 147th Street and East Burnside Street, near where one of the fires started, KGW-TV reported.
Online court records show this is not the first time Murdock has been accused of arson in Multnomah County. She was arrested for arson and other charges in May. That case was eventually dismissed but as of this writing, Murdock was still on parole for a separate case stemming from a February arrest.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Overnight Fires Included Flames at a Dumpster, in Cars & at a Newspaper Stand
Officials extinguished flames at multiple scenes in East Portland during a three-hour window on October 18. Portland Fire and Rescue explained in social media updates that the “cluster” of fires occurred within a “several block radius” of 160th Street and East Burnside.
Flames from a dumpster fire spread to a carport on 156th and East Burnside. That fire luckily did not reach the connecting apartment building and no one was injured.
At the same time, firefighters responded to a separate car fire one street away. Portland Fire and Rescue said crews also put out flames that sparked at a newspaper stand and in a mailbox.
According to KGW-TV, officials also extinguished flames at a homeless camp, responded to a second dumpster fire and put out fires that threatened two other buildings. The TV station reported that police put out “two of the fires with extinguishers they carried in their squad cars.”
Murdock was arrested near 147th Street. KATU-TV reported she was detained for an “unrelated crime” but investigators soon connected her with the fires. KOIN-TV recorded video of some of the fires and was on the scene when Murdock was arrested; that video is embedded above and can also be seen here.
Murdock Faces Felony Arson Charges
Portland Police arrested Murdock and booked her into the Multnomah County Jail just before 6 a.m. on October 18, inmate records show. According to the Oregon Judicial Department’s online records, Murdock’s arraignment was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on October 19 in Judge Andrew M. Lavin’s courtroom. An attorney for Murdock was not listed as of this writing.
Murdock faces three first-degree arson charges, which is a Class A felony in Oregon. She also faces misdemeanor charges for resisting arrest and interfering with a peace officer.
Jail records indicate the judge could decide to set bail at $250,000 for each arson charge.
Murdock Was Accused of Arson in May & Remains on Parole on Charges Including Robbery & Drug Possession
Murdock was arrested on May 8, 2020, after she was accused of setting two vehicles on fire. The Portland Police Bureau said at the time that Murdock was arrested near the scene of the crime. She was charged with three counts of second-degree arson, three counts of “Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle,” theft and harassment. Oregon Judicial Department records show the charges were dismissed a few weeks later.
However, Multnomah County Jail records show Murdock was still on parole as of this writing in connection to a separate case.
Murdock was arrested on February 13, 2020, on a slew of charges. Court records show Murdock pleaded not guilty to charges including:
- Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle
- Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine
- Resisting Arrest
- Robbery in the Second Degree
- Robbery in the Third Degree
- Theft in the Third Degree
Court records indicate Murdock was initially released on her own recognizance. But this was revoked after she was arrested again in early May. The record shows custody hearings took place in July but it is unclear exactly when Murdock was released. Another call on this case was scheduled for November 30.