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The State

March 15, 1985

The son of a fire chief pleaded guilty in Martinez to setting a 380-acre fire that swept through the Contra Costa County town of Port Costa in 1983, destroying five homes, a ferryboat and seven cars. David Allen Birdwell, 21, was turned in by his father, Thomas Birdwell, fire chief of nearby Rodeo, after the younger man admitted tossing incendiary devices from the window of his car. Superior Court Judge Richard Arnason ordered him to undergo a 90-day psychological evaluation before sentencing.

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