Wanted 18-year-old rescued from burning tent at Big Lake Alice

An 18-year-old Shelton man was arrested after being rescued from a burning tent at Big Lake Alice in rural Scotts Bluff County early Saturday morning.

The Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Office said that Mark Vakoc was arrested on a warrant from Hall county after being rescued from the blaze.

Deputies responded to the area after receiving a call from a woman who said she was concerned about the man's well-being. She said he had "fallen on hard times" and was living in a tent on the northwest side of the lake north of Scottsbluff.

Deputies learned that he was wanted on an arrest warrant for misdemeanor theft/shoplifting, and responded to the area.

Deputies were walking the area looking for the man, and noticed a fire burning out of control and a tent was on fire. They found Vakoc trapped inside because the zippers had melted. After ripping open the tent, they found Vakoc trapped inside a burning sleeping bag. They then pulled him from the fire.

Vakoc was not injured and did not require medical attention. He told the Deputies that he didn't know how the fire started. He said he had gone to bed about sundown, and the heat from the fire woke him up. When he awakened, he discovered that his sleeping bag was on fire and he could not escape the tent. He said that he began screaming, and the Deputies arrived.

The Scottsbluff Rural Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire. Vakoc was arrested on the warrant and lodged in the Scotts Bluff County Detention Center. All his belongings were lost in the fire.

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