Medford police arrested a serial arson suspect in Ashland Wednesday evening.

Medford police arrested a serial arson suspect in Ashland Wednesday evening.

Manoah Martin Hall, 38, is accused of setting at least five fires in empty west Medford homes over the past two years. He had moved to Ashland within the last month, police said.

Hall was taken into custody without incident Wednesday in the 100 block of North Mountain Avenue on three counts of first-degree arson, four counts of second-degree arson, four counts of criminal mischief and charges of possession, manufacture and delivery of methamphetamine.

One of the arson charges alleges that the fire threatened someone's life, ratcheting it up to a Measure 11 crime with a minimum sentencing of 71/2; years upon conviction under Oregon sentencing guidelines.

Hall was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on more than $2 million bail.

From summer 2011 through 2013, local and federal officials have investigated 21 suspicious arsons in vacant homes, mostly in southwest Medford, with damages running from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, police said.

Hall lived in several west Medford residences while allegedly setting the house fires that prosecutors say struck fear in the community.

Firefighters responding to the blazes recalled seeing Hall among the bystanders at some of the early arsons, Medford police Chief Tim George said. Hall allegedly posted Internet videos of some of the fires, showing flames even before firefighters reached the scene, George said.

Investigators questioned Hall last summer, but didn't get anything they could arrest him for. They kept Hall under surveillance and continued to gather and process clues.

The recent analysis of forensic evidence collected from at least one of the arson sites pointed to Hall, leading to the search of his Ashland residence Wednesday and his arrest, police said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or by email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.