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3rd Man Convicted Of Starting Colby Fire

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(L-R) Jonathan Jarrell, Steven Aguirre and Clifford Henry were arrested in January in connection with recklessly starting a campfire that allegedly sparked the nearly 1,900-acre Colby Fire. (Photo credit: Glendora Police Department)

(L-R) Jonathan Jarrell, Steven Aguirre and Clifford Henry were arrested in January in connection with recklessly starting a campfire that allegedly sparked the nearly 1,900-acre Colby Fire. (Photo credit: Glendora Police Department)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A third man was convicted Thursday of accidentally causing the 1,900-acre Colby wildfire after setting an illegal campfire in the Glendora Hills.

In January, the blaze destroyed five homes and 17 others near the Angeles National Forest and injured six people, five of whom were firefighters, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It also destroyed 10 outbuildings.

Flames burn near a home during the Colby Fire, January 16, 2014 in Azusa, California.  (Photo credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Flames burn near a home during the Colby Fire, January 16, 2014 in Azusa, California. (Photo credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Of the four charges Jonathan Jarrell was facing, the jury convicted him of two, a felony count of building an illegal campfire on federal land and a misdemeanor count of causing trees, brush and grass in the forest to burn without a permit.

Judge George H. Wu declared a mistrial on the other two charges after the jury deadlocked on their decision.

Jarrell, who had moved to the Los Angeles area not long before the wildfire, faces up to 5 1/2 years in federal prison at sentencing on July 31.

Last week, his co-defendants, 22-year-old Clifford Henry Jr. and 21-year-old Steven Robert Aguirre were each found guilty of all counts. They face up to 6 1/2 years each when sentenced Aug. 4.

Jarrell’s case was separated based on statements he made to investigators that implicated his co-defendants.

The three friends had hiked up the Colby Trail the night of Jan. 15 and set an illegal campfire. Santa Ana winds carried some embers and ignited nearby brush. When the men were unable to put out the flames they fled.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

 

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