Multiple fires threaten San Diego area in early start to season

Cocos Fire Intentionally Set: San Diego Sheriff's Dept.

The Cocos Fire in San Marcos was one of nine fires that burned 9,000 acres in San Diego County on the same day

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    NEWSLETTERS

    On Wednesday, arson investigators announced that a child intentionally started the devastating Cocos Fire in San Marcos. NBC 7’s Steven Luke has reaction from residents. (Published Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014)

    The Cocos Fire that scorched nearly 2,000 acres and destroyed close to 40 homes in San Marcos, was intentionally set, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday. 

    A juvenile may face charges as the person responsible for starting the fire on May 14, deputies said.

    The investigators declined to identify the juvenile suspect per department policy. They've submitted the case to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, officials said. 

    The DA's office will decide if charges should be filed in this case. A juvenile court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 30.

    Resident Remembers Valley of Fire

    [DGO] Resident Remembers Valley of Fire
    NBC 7's Candice Nguyen speaks with Scott Dennis, a Coronado Hills resident whose home was spared by the Cocos Fire. As the flames encroached on his home on May 14, 2014, Dennis remembers seeing a "valley of fire" that seemed like the end for his home. (Published Thursday, May 22, 2014)

    The May Firestorm cost $27.9 million to fight, and $29.8 million in losses to private property owners, according to county officials.

    The Cocos Fire alone cost the City of San Marcos approximately $10.4 million.

    Out of that, $6.2 million was spent fighting the fire and $2.5 million will be needed to stabilize and control erosion of now barren hillsides near residential areas, storm drains, Discovery Lake and South Lake and other areas impacted by the fire.

    The Cocos Fire was one of nine fires that swept San Diego County, burning 9,000 acres on the same day.

    The entire campus of Cal State San Marcos was evacuated after the fire sparked near near Village Drive and Twin Oaks Road.

    News of a suspect  - and a juvenile one at that - prompted a lot of response on NBC 7's Facebook page.

    Palomar College student Dominique Morgan wrote, "Kids just don't understand that when they do things that not only will they face consequences, but so will their parents."

    Julie Salmons of the Lake Morena area said she felt the suspect should be required to work at a burn center and an animal sanctuary.

    "...he should also NOT be allowed to own anything that cost more than 10 bucks for the next 10 years. he needs to see what it feels like to have nothing," she wrote on NBC 7's page.

    In making the announcement Wednesday, deputies said there is no evidence linking the fires or connecting the juvenile suspect to the other fires.

    Deputies said the department's Bomb/Arson Unit worked for weeks on the investigation with the help of Cal Fire, the San Marcos Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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