CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Crews have returned to fire site that sent smoke and flames through a sewer opening in Carpinteria and shut down Highway 101 Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Caltrans was assessing the area adjacent to a creek and where newer construction has been completed.
The opening to the sewer was charred with black soot markings.
The fire broke out Saturday around 6 p.m. and flames shot up next to the freeway on the northbound side.
The California Highway Patrol shut down the lanes. Some drivers turned around on the freeway and got off at Bailard Ave.
Thousands of vehicles were rerouted for about three hours while firefighters put the flames out and checked manhole covers where billowing smoke had come out.
Early Sunday morning another call for firefighters was made due to more smoke in the same area.
The freeway was closed from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Monday. Sheriff's deputies found Santiago Garcia Soriano at the scene digging in the same area of the fire.
The suspect was arrested and deputies say he admitted to starting a fire about an hour before it was reported Saturday night.
Garcia Soriano, from Santa Barbara, has been charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office with arson (a felony) and possession of cocaine.