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Officials say juvenile started California wildfire


SAN DIEGO (AP) - Investigators who spent weeks examining photos and tips from the public have identified a juvenile as a suspect for intentionally starting the most destructive of nearly a dozen wildfires that ripped through Southern California this spring, officials said Tuesday.

The San Diego County District Attorney's office said a hearing has been set for July 30 for the juvenile, whose identity has not been released. Authorities would not say whether an arrest has been made nor provide any details other than to say the person is believed to be responsible for setting the Cocos fire, which quickly spread amid windy, dry conditions.

The blaze burned 36 houses and one business in San Marcos, a city of 85,000 north of San Diego. Investigators say the suspect is not believed to be linked to the other wildfires burning at that time.

The wildfires that erupted over a span of days in San Diego County prompted tens of thousands of evacuations and caused more than $20 million in damages.

The first blaze started May 13 and was caused by a spark from construction equipment, according to state officials.

Authorities arrested two youths in Escondido on suspicion of setting fires in that city, which is near San Marcos, but charges were later dropped for lack of evidence. Another man, Alberto Serrato, 57, was arrested and pleaded not guilty to an arson charge in connection with one of the smaller fires, but authorities say they don't believe he started it, just added brush to it.

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luialva July 09 2014 at 5:25 PM

Arson should be prosecuted as attempted murder and see if they can add any terrorist charges.

Flag Reply +26 rate up
4 replies
ram4131 July 09 2014 at 5:30 PM

They arrested a 57 yr old Mexican for not starting a fire, but adding brush to it? So........if not arson, they charge him with what? Cataclysmic thermal encouragement ?

Flag Reply +22 rate up
6 replies
luialva July 09 2014 at 5:26 PM

California needs to increase the jail time for all forms of arson.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
2 replies
schlauger1 luialva July 09 2014 at 5:48 PM

He is a suspect, for now.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
denise luialva July 09 2014 at 6:27 PM

luialva ... Exactly right. WHY is anything like this ALWAYS done by a male. We need to start dealing with THAT ugly fact. Animal abuse, spousal abuse, shootings in schools, malls, movie theaters, muggings, rapes, murders, not enough room here ... oh yes WARS.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
riverhosed denise July 09 2014 at 6:44 PM

Women drive us to it.

Flag +2 rate up
jalberts.houston July 09 2014 at 6:08 PM

There should be no "juvenile" status for felony crimes.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
2 replies
kcarthey jalberts.houston July 09 2014 at 9:47 PM

I very strongly disagree with yoo though I do think that we need to relook at how we handle juvenile offenders and perhaps look at each juvenile individually. I am extremely opposed to trying kids as adults however.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
drb107 jalberts.houston July 10 2014 at 2:53 AM

Jalberts I agree with you

Flag Reply 0 rate up
dhsdome July 09 2014 at 6:10 PM

Get his parents to pay for the damage if you can find them.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
CMEL57 July 09 2014 at 5:46 PM

Name the little POS. Why keep it a secret? Forget about his age.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
coreelectric CMEL57 July 09 2014 at 8:27 PM

Why? So you can call and give him/her a piece of your perfect mind? You should thank him for helping nature do it's work. If people don't want to be at risk of forest fires, they should live somewhere other than in a forest.

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2 replies
Heymickr coreelectric July 09 2014 at 8:39 PM

If you lived in an area subject to fires you would quickly learn that you don't have to live in or even very close to a forest in order to suffer severe damage from forest fires. Also, even if you live miles downwind of a fire the smoke damage can be almost as bad as having the structure burned. When you start a fire you are not helping nature. Nature is quite capable of starting its own fires.

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rwikert coreelectric July 09 2014 at 9:18 PM

What time this morning did you take your stupid pill?

Flag +1 rate up
OBee CMEL57 July 10 2014 at 12:19 AM

IF he had already been convicted, I MIGHT agree with you.
Typical RW mouth breather, the Constitution's fine when it supports you. All the rest, ehhhhh!
Or maybe you'd just like to 'Ryan White' his ass. You know, that young child, who was a hemophiliac, got AIDS from blood transfusions and was burned out of his home for having AIDS!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
cooltool50 July 09 2014 at 5:20 PM

How much jail time do you get for 20 million dollars worth?

Flag Reply +7 rate up
5 replies
debnaert July 09 2014 at 5:22 PM

People are just CRAP!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
3 replies
I LOVE YOU JENNY July 09 2014 at 5:30 PM

Make him clean the latrines in prison!!!!!!!!

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1 reply
schlauger1 I LOVE YOU JENNY July 09 2014 at 5:49 PM

Make him go to court first.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
riverhosed schlauger1 July 09 2014 at 6:45 PM

And if convicted, ROACH his ass.

Flag 0 rate up
CPA11973 schlauger1 July 09 2014 at 7:30 PM

why waste money on a trial.

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Guam Betty July 09 2014 at 5:37 PM

Come on people---those fires past or present were started by non other than the worst two-legged creatures called "HUMAN". Catch and throw them all into the fire!!!!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
deuces59james Guam Betty July 09 2014 at 6:54 PM

then any human who has ever farted should be put in prison? makes as much sense as the climate change scam you liberals are running.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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