On Friday, Jan. 17, the Los Angeles Times reported that three men have been arrested and taken into custody for igniting the dangerous wildfire just east of Los Angeles. The three men’s campfire that started the blaze destroyed five homes and threatened neighborhoods as it swept through 1,700 acres of brush in the San Gabriel Mountains.
By early yesterday morning, the wildfire was no longer advancing and was 30 percent contained according to authorities. Los Angeles County fire Deputy Chief John Tripp said, “The weather cooperated quite a bit today.”
“We didn’t get the wind that we thought.” County emergency officials revealed that 3,700 people in Glendora and Azusa had been evacuated as a result of the blaze.
The fires destroyed rental units that were located on the historic grounds of a retreat that was at one time the summer home of the Singer sewing machine family. On the grounds of the ruined homes statues of Jesus and Mary stood unharmed.
Current owner of the estate, Jeania Parayno stated, “It’s really a miracle that our chapel, our main house is safe.”
The three men, Clifford E. Henry Jr., 22 of Glendora; Jonathan C. Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale; and Steven R. Aguirre, 21 were all arrested on suspicion of recklessly starting the blaze. Law enforcement authorities stated that the men caused the blaze when they threw paper into a campfire in the Angeles National Forest.
Glendora Chief Tim Staab commented that it is believed the fire was an accident and the men were using the campfire in an attempt to stay warm. Staab went on to add, “One was very remorseful for starting this fire.”
More than 700 firefighters arrived on scene to fight the blaze in addition to 70 fire engines and a fleet of helicopters and air tankers.
The three men could either face state or federal charges. Henry, Jarrell and Aguirre are being held in lieu of $20,000 bond.
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