NEAR GLENDORA (CBSLA) – Two men were charged Thursday in connection with a small brush fire earlier this week in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Glendora.
Christopher Paul Ortega,20, of Glendora and Santino Francisco Gnaulati, 21, of Covina, each plead not guilty to one felony count of arson of a structure or forest.
The quarter-acre fire was reported by a passerby just before 3 a.m. Tuesday near the Morris Dam off Highway 39, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The passerby reported to 911 dispatchers seeing two suspicious people in the area leaving in a white GMC pickup truck, USFS reports. The passerby followed the suspects and got the vehicle’s license plate.
Meanwhile, USFS and Los Angeles County Fire Department crews responded and quickly extinguished the blaze with the help of water-dropping helicopters.
Azusa police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies later tracked down the vehicle and arrested the two suspects, USFS disclosed. Their names and the charges they face were not immediately released.
Ortega and Gnaulati are set to return to court on Aug. 29. If convicted as charged, they face a possible maximum sentence of six years in state prison.