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Public Safety

Molotov Cocktail Started Brush Fire Near Escondido

A fire burns brush near Escondido, July 9, 2015.
A fire burns brush near Escondido, July 9, 2015.

2 teens face charges

Two teens who made a Molotov cocktail that sparked a brushfire of around 10 acres in an unincorporated area near Escondido were facing charges Thursday.

The fire broke out shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday in a riverbed and rapidly spread toward homes in the vicinity of Platanus and Gracilor drives near the Castle Creek Country Club, according to Cal Fire. Cal Fire officials said the 10-acre fire was fully contained as of 9 a.m.

Deputies eventually tracked down the 13- and 14-year-old suspects who were visiting a friend about two blocks from where the fire broke out, according to sheriff's Sgt. Tom Vrabel. During questioning, they allegedly admitted to manufacturing a Molotov cocktail by pouring 124-proof liquor into a beer bottle and making a wick out of a paper towel.


The teens ignited the device and threw it against a boulder in an undeveloped area along Platanus Drive, Vrabel said. They told authorities that some nearby brush caught fire, but they thought they had put it out before walking away, he said.

However, they looked back and saw that the fire had reignited and began to spread. Vrabel said the youths panicked and ran back to their friend's home.

Deputies arrested the two teens on suspicion of unlawfully causing a fire and released them into their parents' custody. Vrabel said the case would now be turned over to the county District Attorney's Office for review and consideration.

Some residents of the relatively rural area were subjected to voluntary evacuations, but later returned home, Vrabel said. Deputies and the California Highway Patrol blocked roadways in the area, but they were reopened around 11 p.m.

No injuries were immediately reported.

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