Young Boy admits to starting California blaze


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Officials blamed a wildfire that consumed more than 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes last week on a boy playing with matches, and said they would ask a prosecutor to consider the case.

The boy admitted to sparking the fire on Oct. 21, Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht said Tuesday. Ferocious winds helped it quickly spread.

"He admitted to playing with matches and accidentally starting the fire," Hecht said in a statement.

Police did not release the boy's name. Los Angeles County fire Capt. Michael Brown only would say Wednesday that he was younger than 13.

The boy was released to his parents, and the case will be presented to the district attorney's office, Hecht said. It was not clear if he had been arrested or cited by detectives.

Arson investigators first talked to the boy's parents on Oct. 22 after determining the blaze began the day before in the back yard of their Agua Dulce home, Brown said.

The home was not damaged in the fire, Brown said.

Investigators initially considered a downed power line as the source of the fire, but never officially listed it as the cause.

The blaze, which spread quickly through the neighborhood, was among 15 or so major wildfires that destroyed some 2,100 homes and blackened 809 square miles from Los Angeles to the Mexican border last week. Seven deaths were blamed directly on the fires, six evacuees died of natural causes and one person died of a fall.

All but four of the blazes are now fully contained. Firefighters on Wednesday continued to cut lines around the remaining fires and kept a close eye on the weather.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Deputy Maribel Rizo said prosecutors were yet to determine if the boy's parents would be held accountable for any financial losses caused by the fire. Rizo did not know when prosecutors would be given the case.

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Come on, playing with matches, who didn't when they were young? Maybe I'm the only fellow pyro neowinian in this thread. Seriously, this fire was caused by stupid tree hugging liberials in california who are more concerned with preventing land management officials from doing controlled burns and thinning out the dry brush, instead they let it collect on the hillsides and it was a tragedy waiting to happen. If you can start a fire that big with just matches it's not the kids fault.

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I played with lighters, but I never started any large fires either.

Should be interesting to see what's going to happen to him?, maybe he'll take Scott Peterson's place on Death Row in San Quentin.

He'll be Terminated by the Terminator, wonder if the boy's name is John Connor and his mom is Sarah?

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Come on, playing with matches, who didn't when they were young? Maybe I'm the only fellow pyro neowinian in this thread. Seriously, this fire was caused by stupid tree hugging liberials in california who are more concerned with preventing land management officials from doing controlled burns and thinning out the dry brush, instead they let it collect on the hillsides and it was a tragedy waiting to happen. If you can start a fire that big with just matches it's not the kids fault.

I don't know what part of Southern California that isn't dry this season, so I'm not sure how many of those "controlled fires" must have been done to clean up the dry brush. Just burn down all of LA national forest for that matter. It's a potential fire hazard that threatens the city every year. sarcasm.

The kid should be tatooed with the name of "arsonist" on the top of his head for the rest of the life. Who in the hell lets their kids play with matches anyways? The parents should have already engrained that into the kids head. You don't **** around with fire, especially at that young of an age.

But really. Don't build a log cabin in forested area and expect it to be salvaged after fire season.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update:

No Charges for 10-Year-Old Fire Starter

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A 10-year-old boy who admitted starting a 38,000-acre fire last month that destroyed 21 homes in northern Los Angeles County will not be charged, prosecutors said Tuesday.

There was no evidence of intent by the boy who accidentally ignited brush outside his home by playing with matches, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Authorities are referring the case to the Department of Children and Family Services to determine if further steps are necessary. No other information about the investigation was released because the case involves a minor.

The blaze was among more than a dozen major wildfires that blackened over 800 square miles from Los Angeles to the Mexican border. In all, 10 people were killed directly by the wildfires.

About a week after the fires were ignited, sheriff's department officials announced that they had interviewed the boy, who lived with his family in a trailer home on a ranch in Santa Clarita, and that he acknowledged starting the blaze.

Officials presented the case to the district attorney's office, but law experts had said prosecutors would have trouble getting a conviction against the boy because it would be difficult to prove intent to cause harm.

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I don't understand this need for intent. Sure, it's logical and fair to require in order to prove a crime was actually committed...

...but that doesn't explain why driving over some idiot who jumps into traffic is automatically the motorist's fault. Is this a CA thing?

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It just means criminal charges can't be brought against him or his parents. It doesn't meant that the parents won't wind up in court in a civil suit, which I would be expecting if I were them.

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It just means criminal charges can't be brought against him or his parents. It doesn't meant that the parents won't wind up in court in a civil suit, which I would be expecting if I were them.

I'm guessing that won't go too far...

...who lived with his family in a trailer home on a ranch in Santa Clarita, and that he acknowledged starting the blaze.
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that intent crap is just that, CRAP. that boy KNEW he shouldn't be playing with fire regardless of what they say. it was fun to him till it got out of hand, by then it's too late to feel sorry because the damage is done, he better be glad i'm not one of those affected by his stupidity.

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Ok, so every neowinian is attacking the kid, saying the kid knew and he shouldn't have played with matches and the parents were bad because they let the kid have matches. He's 10, not ADULTS like many of you posting.

Alright guys, how many of you were "good little boys" at his age? By that I mean you did exactly what your parents told you and that you've never done something as trivial as playing with matches? No? "Boys will be boys" right?

Yeah that's what I thought. Easy to blame others, not so much yourself.

Good thing the state isn't holding the kid liable for this. The parents? maybe, depending on what they were doing, how the kid got the matches if they were from the house through easy access, etc., but the kid? nah.

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