Escondido, CA

Teens admit to accidentally setting fire that burned hills around Deer Springs area

Two teens have admitted to starting the fire on Wednesday, July 8 that burned 12 acres in the Deer Springs area and briefly threatened residences, causing an evacuation of about 50 homes.

The fire started about 8 p.m., apparently from a Molotov cocktail like device that the two teenagers later admitted to having made, although they say they didn’t intend to actually start a fire.

Thursday morning the Sheriff’s Dept. issued the following statement: “Last night Sheriff’s Deputies from the San Marcos Station responded to the noted location to assist Cal Fire crews with a brush fire. Upon arrival, the deputies observed the rapidly spreading brush fire was close to the residential neighborhood near Platanus Drive and immediately began making voluntary evacuation notifications / warnings to residents. Additional deputies responded, including deputies from the Valley Center and Fallbrook commands, along with one CHP unit. Deputies and CHP initiated road blocks / closures, to prevent through-traffic. The fire spread rapidly up the hillside towards Ridgeway Creek Road. Cal Fire coordinated the fire response and procured the necessary resources to battle the blaze, which was estimated to have consumed 15+ acres by the time it was contained.

Deputies located two juveniles in the 29700 block of Platanus Drive, about two blocks from where the fire originated. The juveniles, ages of 13 and 14 years, were interviewed and admitted to accidentally starting the fire. They were visiting a friend in the neighborhood. They had manufactured a “Molotov Cocktail” by pouring 124 proof liquor into an empty beer bottle and making a wick out of a paper towel. They walked to the end of Plantanus Drive, adjacent to the 8900 block of Circle R Drive, and onto a nearby undeveloped leveled housing pad. They lit the cocktail and threw it against a boulder. Some nearby brush caught on fire. They thought they put out the fire and walked away. Upon looking back they observed that the fire had reignited and started to expand. They panicked and ran back to their friend’s home. The youths were in violation of 452 PC – Unlawfully Causing a Fire and subsequently arrested by Deputies. Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Detectives were notified and responded. They, with the assistance of Fire Investigators on scene, conducted their follow up investigation. The youths were released to the custody of their parents.

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