A firefighter hoses flames at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California.
Two teens were arrested Thursday evening after police say they started at least two brush fires in San Diego’s Escondido area, as several destructive blazes continued to burn across the county.
Police said 19-year-old Isaiah Silva of Escondido, and a 17-year-old juvenile were arrested on suspicion of attempted arson at about 8:20 p.m. near South Escondido Boulevard.
Police said that between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., they received calls reporting that two people were setting small fires near South Escondido Boulevard and at Kit Carson Park, which is located miles away from Westfield North County Mall. The teens matched the description provided by a caller, Lt. Neal Griffin of Escondido police said. Griffin said, at the moment, investigators could not connect them to any of the larger fires currently burning across the county
One witness, who called the sheriff’s department at around 6:30 p.m., said he put out one of the fires near South Escondido Boulevard, Griffin said. Another caller, who was at the Westfield North County Mall, told police at about 7:25 p.m. that he tried to chase the teens, who were on bicycles at the time.
Although the caller was unable to catch up with the pair, he gave a description that police said matched the earlier incident.
Escondido police who were on patrol in the area later found Silva and the 17-year-old and took them into custody.
Griffin said evidence found on Silva and the juvenile, as well as statements they gave while in custody, further confirmed that they were responsible. Both will be investigated for incidents of arson, Griffin added. The suspects were said to be cooperating with police.
As of Friday morning, Silva was still in custody, scheduled to be arraigned Monday on felony arson of property and held on $50,000 bail.
Escondido police will continue investigating the incident.
Griffin applauded the quick-thinking witnesses who reported the fires, as residents across the county are on edge due continuing blazes.
“This arrest is completely to the credit of citizens who did exactly what we need them to do,” Griffin said. “Unfortunately, in these sorts of circumstances – wildfires – a lot of times we do wind up with incidents where there are incidents of copy-cats."
Published at 10:43 PM PDT on May 15, 2014