Deputy monitoring fire from above

A Passerby Makes a Difference, and as a Result, Two Suspected Arson Suspects are Arrested. Great Job!

Time and time again we are grateful to people who make a difference. In this case, two men were arrested a short time after being suspected of starting a fire near Morris Dam in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Glendora, Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at around 3:00 a.m.

Fortunately, a passerby saw a couple of men trying to set a fire on the southbound side of the freeway off Highway 39. He called 9-1-1 to report the information, which included the suspect’s description and them fleeing the scene in a white truck, and provided the license plate number.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and Los Angeles County Fire Department (LAFD) personnel responded to find a fire burning on the hillside. California Highway Patrol officers and Sheriff’s deputies closed the freeway in both directions, while LAFD and United State Forestry Service personnel quickly extinguish the fire with the help of water-dropping helicopters. Approximately a quarter acre was burned.

Luckily, Azusa Police Department was able to locate and detain both suspects at Sierra Madre Avenue and Vosburgh Drive in Azusa. Deputies responded to arrest the suspects, and transport them to San Dimas Sheriff’s Station for booking.

Suspect Christopher Ortega, male Hispanic 20 years-old, and Suspect Santino Gnaulati, male White 21 years-old. 

This passerby made a difference, and I’m sure the community surrounding the fire area are very grateful for his observation and phone call to 9-1-1. 

The investigation is being handled by United State Forestry Service

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