Multiple fires threaten San Diego area in early start to season

Cocos Fire Victim Willing to Forgive Arson Suspect

Though he and so many others living in the Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association lost everything, Rev. Robert Anderson said he is practicing forgiveness.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Though he and so many others living in the Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association lost everything, Rev. Robert Anderson said he is practicing forgiveness. NBC 7's Danya Bacchus reports.

    A teenager is under arrest, accused of intentionally setting the Cocos Fire that destroyed dozens of homes.

    Rev. Robert Anderson watched as flames from the Cocos Fire quickly surrounded the Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association on May 14.

    "It's Really Messed Up": Residents React to Cocos Fire Origin

    [DGO] "It's Really Messed Up": Residents React to Cocos Fire Origin
    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.

    “Everything they had went up, literally their home, their possessions, everything they had,” Anderson said.

    “When I left the houses over there and over here were on fire. I had my Rottweiler and drove out of here through the flames,” he said.

    The place he and dozens of his friends called home was destroyed.

    Most lease holds were leveled, completely wiped out by the fire.

    “Just the impact of people displaced overnight. A lot of them left thinking they were going to come back and left everything, including me, with just the clothes they had on thinking we’re just going to come back,” he said.

    On Wednesday, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said investigators determined the fire was set on purpose by a juvenile.

    Not much is known about the suspect, except for the fact he or she intentionally started the fire which destroyed almost 40 homes and structures.

    Though he and so many others lost everything, Rev. Anderson said he is practicing forgiveness.

    “It doesn’t do any good to bear a grudge. This is a minor,” he said.

    He’s looking forward to the day they rebuild.

    “We’re not victims. We’re survivors.”