Friday, December 14, 2007

Arrests Made In Malibu Fire

You might be saying to yourself, "that's nice, but what does all of this have to do with gossip?" Be patient, and you will be rewarded.

Authorities arrested five men Thursday on allegations they caused a fire that destroyed more than 50 homes and caused over $100 million in losses in Malibu. Investigators used surveillance video, receipts and food wrappers to track down the men who were believed to have been at the cave where the fire started, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said.

Baca said the men, all from the Los Angeles area, were suspected of recklessly causing a fire with bodily injury, causing fire to an inhabited structure and arson during an emergency.
Each charge carries two to four years of prison time upon conviction.

Investigators found several pieces of evidence that indicated revelers had triggered the blaze by setting a campfire at a popular party spot by a cave. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said campfires in the area were prohibited.

Arson detective Irma Gonzales said 12 people had been partying at the cave. She did not comment on how the blaze spread from the campfire, but said the group did not try to fight it, nor did they try to warn residents as they fled from the flames.

"They just drove off," Gonzales said.

A review of security tape from a nearby store's camera and other detective work that took investigators as far away as Shasta County, on the Oregon line, led to the arrest warrants, Whitmore said.

The wildfire destroyed 53 homes, 33 outbuildings, one mobile home and 37 vehicles. Another 34 homes and 11 outbuildings were damaged. No one was seriously injured. The fire broke out Nov. 24 and took several days to contain.

Now how does any of this affect you? Well as general gossip readers it probably doesn't, but as readers of this blog, you all have a personal connection to this fire. I really haven't said anything prior to this because, honestly there wasn't any point. One of the homes that was destroyed in the fires was Dominique Swain's childhood home. It is the home that her father still lived in, and when the fire came rushing at him, the only things he had time to save were the animals and one photo album. Nothing else. No clothes, no nothing. The only thing a family has to show for 30 years in a house is one photo album and their own personal memories. The laughter, the tears, the fights. Everything gone.

You might be saying to yourself that the federal government will take care of everything because the area was declared a disaster area. Not true. This week I got a call from the family to try and help because they were getting the runaround from FEMA and some other government agencies. They are doing everything possible to try and make everything as difficult as possible.

Throughout it all, DS's dad is just a stoic figure who says that things will work out in the end. They may, but it won't be because of anything the government is doing. His attitude stems from the fact that he thought the fires were caused by a natural act. The fact that people were partying in a cave, caused the fire and then did absolutely nothing but drive away when it started is beyond me. They didn't try and put out the fire, but worst of all is they didn't even call anyone for help or advise police or fire departments that a fire was out of control.

Instead they just drove away and completely destroyed the lives of 53 families and millions of memories.


Moe said...

I hope they rot in jail. There's absolutely no excuse for not calling for help. None.

jax said...


Please tell me these lil shits will be ordered to work every day of their patheitc self centered lives to pay restitution??
Do they even have that in the US?

Tracee said...

That's awful! I couldn't even imagine having to choose in a matter of minutes what to take with me. The good thing is they still have their lives and still have the opportunity to build more memories together.

jax said...

tracee..i know. i have a photo box next to my bed with all the irreplaceble pix from my childhood etc. in case of emerg.
Photos ARE the only thing i'd even think about besides things with a heartbeat.

DNfromMN said...

Ent, give our condolences to Dominique and her family.

Kim said...

Ditto to what dnfrommn said.....

Alisonthefirst said...

How sad.

Dumb hicks from Shasta. ;(

Melissa said...

Jax, I suggest a bank's deposit box in case your house burns while you're gone. Not cursing you, just friendly advice. :)

I hope this never happens to anyone else again, but sadly I know it will.

Are they going to announce who was arrested?

Kara said...

Thanks for telling us the personal story of one of the 53 families who's homes were destroyed.

It's hard to imagine all of the lives that have been affected.

I guess its as good a time as ever to remember that everyone's actions, no matter how small, end of impacting everyone else (Some just have bigger concequences than others).

kellysirkus said...

I live about 2 miles from where this fire started.
It is disgusting to me that anyone would be stupid enough to light a fire up there, especially during Santa Ana winds.

When we dropped stuff off to the high school for the fire fighters and evacuees one of the guys was telling us to put all your VIPapers or photos in a fire box and store it in your freezer. Even if your house burns to ashes, that might survive. The freezer is the last to go.

I hope DS and her family are able to have a nice holiday together. Thankfully, they did not lose a family member.

jax said...

Thanks for tips!

That's awful for Ds..please let her know we are thinking of her.

Up here in Canaduh we had some losers tossing lit butts out the window in the middle of an Augsut heatwave causing countless fires along the freeway and some turning into forest fires.
it sickens me that this was man made. said...

DS...I am so sorry this happened. As the others said, we are thinking of you.

One of my favorite musicians, Butch Walker, lost everything in that fire.

Judi said...

These families lost everything but their lives. Horrendous. Firefighters were injured as well. Hope the DA throws the book at them. And for what? Just to get smashed. Please extend condolences to DS, Enty. Thanks very much, Kelly, for that tip.

Caroline said...

I am so sorry for the loss of the Swain's home, just so senseless.

Think people, THINK.

blonde ambition said...

sorry for the loss. will having insurance allow him to rebuild?

sauvage said...

I find it absolutely incredible that people could act so reckless to not even alarm authorities and/or citizens about the fire. I mean, HELLO? Well, right, I can't even imagine anyone being stupid enough to light a camping fire in an area where they are prohibited for good reasons - in a very dry summer! Intelligence might be a matter of luck. Reponsible behaviour, some caring for others are not.

Baby-me is just so glad Dominique Swain's father was able to rescue the pets.

__-__=__ said...

What ever happened to "Do no harm." Isn't that how we're supposed to live? Or do I need to start tearin' stuff up?!?!?!?!!?!?