Saturday, March 1, 2008

Teenagers Arrested for Starting Fire Near Julian, CA

From the San Diego Union:
"JULIAN – Two Julian teenagers, accused of starting the 850-acre Angel fire that destroyed one house and a large part of an Episcopal church retreat, will appear in court later this month for a preliminary hearing on felony charges of recklessly starting a fire.

If convicted, Francisco Javier Abarca, 19, and Mario J.W. DeLuca, 18, both of Julian, could also be held liable for the $3 million cost of fighting the September fire, officials say.

The blaze, caused by an illegal campfire, forced the evacuation of hundreds in the mountain town on Sept. 15. Seventeen buildings were destroyed at Camp Stevens, which was purchased in 1952 jointly by the Episcopal Dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego.

Abarca and DeLuca are charged with a form of arson that does not require prosecutors to prove they intended to burn forest or buildings. If convicted, the teens face a maximum of three years in prison.

The arrests of Abarca and DeLuca in January were not publicized by authorities."

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