GLENDORA (CBSLA.com) — The three men in custody for allegedly starting the Colby Fire, reportedly told officials they set the blaze but that it was an accident.
Jonathan Jarrell, 23; Steven Aguirre, 21; and Clifford Henry, 22, have been identified as the suspects.
KCAL9’s Randy Paige reports the three initially denied having any involvement in the blaze when first questioned by police.
On a Facebook posted dated on Wednesday evening, Paige says Jarrell talked about going hunting for mountain lions today with two friends.
A friend said they were only joking about the mountain lions.
Glendora Police first say they spotted the three men running along a wash near where the fire started.
Cpl. Nancy Miranda made the arrest.
“They told me they were coming from where the fire started and that’s why they were running and out of breath,” says Miranda, “That is what they told me.”
She said their stories weren’t matching and not adding up.
That is when, she says, at least one of the men confessed to starting the fire but told her it was an accident.
A campfire the men set to keep warm this morning quickly got out-of-control, said Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab.
Gusty winds and lots of dried brush fueled the fire, said officials and the men said they were unable to stomp the fire out.
Officials said there was no evidence to suggest the men started the fire purposely.
Paige also spoke to Emilio Zarate, a good friend of the three suspects.
He said Henry and Jarrell were camping last night to keep Aguirre company — Aguirre had recently become homeless after a disagreement with his family.
LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said the Colby Fire should be an important lesson to residents.
“Right now we’re still in extreme drought conditions,” he said, “the fuels are extremely dry … our projections are if there is any ignition source there is a 100 percent chance there will be a fire.”