Fire Investigations Pooled into 1 Task Force

The Joint Arson Task Force was formed to help coordinate efforts

With many agencies working together to find the causes of San Diego County's various wildfires, a Joint Arson Task Force-Information Exchange has been formed to coordinate the multiple investigations.

Task force leader Chet Bertell with San Diego Fire-Rescue says it is effectively an information clearing house.

Members are taking in every piece of evidence from investigations in Camp Pendleton, San Marcos, Carlsbad and Oceanside and comparing it to prove or disprove patterns.

Cal Fire is taking the lead in the investigation of the three Camp Pendleton fires.

So far, no conclusive evidence has been found to prove if it was accident nor arson.

Meanwhile, the Oceanside Police Department may have a lead in its investigation. A spokesman told NBC7 that last Thursday, a teenager was spotted setting brush on fire in the 600 block of Boysenberry Street.

While that was separate from the San Luis Rey Rivebed Fire,  he is a person of interest in connection with both incidents. He is not in custody.

However, there is currently no information linking the Cocos Fire with any of the other fires, according to San Diego County Sheriff's spokesperson Jan Caldwell. The cause of that devastating blaze has not yet been determined.

A spokesperson for the Oceanside Police Department said 57-year-old Alberto Serrato is held on a $250,000 bond.

He is accused of adding fuel to the San Luis Rey Riverbed Fire, but officials say he is not responsible for starting it.

Serrato's first court appearance is Tuesday morning.

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