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Boy released pending fire investigation

Wildfire: Investigator warns residents: Hampering water drops could be hazardous to health

Posted: August 9, 2010 10:18 p.m.
Updated: August 10, 2010 4:55 a.m.

A 14-year-old boy who was arrested for setting a fire in Saugus on Sunday was released to his family, an official said Monday.

The case is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Department Arson Explosive Detail and will present its findings to the District Attorney’s Office, said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

According to investigators, the boy confessed to dropping a barbecue lighter in the brush while trying to light a marijuana pipe with the device.

The fire burned about 40 acres near the intersection of Haskell Canyon Road and Copper Hill Drive. Residents of three streets were evacuated, and the spectacle of the fire drew residents from throughout the area.

No homes were lost, but flames came within a few yards of some.

Other arrests
Two other people — 33-year-old Anthony Fierro and a 16-year-old boy — were arrested for investigation of obstructing a firefighter.

Fierro issued a statement to The Signal on Monday vehemently denying the charge.

Fierro said he went up a hill to get a better view of his mother’s house in relation to the fire, but he went down immediately when someone in a uniform gestured him to leave.

“At the bottom of the hill, I was met by several deputies (I believe there was two or three) who immediately detained me,” he said. He said he was on the scene of the incident for no more than a minute or a minute and a half before being detained.

“At no time during this incident did I make any gestures to deputies, firefighters or any other public officer,” he said in the statement.

After being held at the command post for a couple of hours, he said, he was driven home and cited by a sheriff’s deputy.

Warning issued
Fire Inspector Don Kunitomi said Monday that when residents were told to move by a firefighter, they need to move immediately — for their own safety.

“Water weighs about 8 1/3 pounds a gallon and our (helicopters) have a 1,000-gallon capacity,” Kunitomi said.

“If water is dropped from a (helicopter), obviously, someone can really be hurt by that.”

A crowd that gathered in a local Walgreens parking lot to watch the fire Sunday did not obstruct operations, Kunitomi said.

“Generally, the people in Santa Clarita are pretty law-abiding and stay on the sidewalk about 200 feet from the command post,” he said. “We did have a ton of police there, so that always helps.”


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