BANDON — Oregon State Police arson investigators plan to dig through the remains of a home in Bandon that police believe was torched overnight by its owner.
Bandon police and firefighters responded at 12:16 a.m. today to the house at 1124 Fourth St. N.E., after a civilian reported a fire, said police Chief Bob Webb. The double-wide mobile home is owned by 47-year-old Jerry B. Soper Jr., according to Coos County Assessor Office records.
Firefighters put out the blaze and Soper apparently got into a scuffle with police. Webb declined to comment about what happened other than to say police used a stun gun to subdue Soper. They charged him with first-degree arson, assault on a public safety officer, reckless endangering, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.
Neighbor Lynda Fost reported that her family was awakened by the sound of a car smashing into the Soper house, before noticing the fire. Neighbors said there have been many conflicts with Soper Jr. over the years. Michele Winchell, who can see Soper's house from her back door, said her family has felt threatened at times by his presence in the neighborhood.
"There have been multiple issues with him, but he's never messed with us," said Nick Hennick, who lives around the corner on North Avenue. "I'm surprised, but I'm not. I'm just glad nobody got hurt."
It was a fast burn, Hennick said. He could feel the heat from his porch.
No one was injured in the fire, Webb said. Police took Soper to Coos County jail, where he was being held this morning on $542,500 bail.
Property taxes are due dating back to 2007 for 1124 Fourth St. N.E., according to the Coos County Assessor's Office. Soper bought the home in 2000 for $47,000.