Hollywood Hills fire started by two teens

Two teens from Chicago are to blame for a brush fire that started in the Hollywood hills east of Los Angeles on Friday. The 150 acre fire destroyed 2,500 acres, sent smoke billowing over downtown LA and led to widespread panic and the evacuation of 200 residents in Hesperia. There has been only minor damage to buildings so far, and no fatalities, but the smoke was extremely uncomfortable for people in the area. Smoke was seen rising over the famous Hollywood sign, and some feared that it might be destroyed, but the fire was about of a 1/2 a mile away and the sign is now considered fire-proof as it is made of painted steel. Smoke drifted into the Warner Brothers and Universal studios nearby.

The boys, aged 16 and 17, were friends from Illinois who were staying at an Oakwood apartment building near where the fire started. The father of one of the teens was in California for a training assignment for his job.

The teens admitted to officials that they started the fire, saying that they were setting sticks on fire when it spread up the hill and out of control.

The 150-acre blaze started near a corporate housing complex east of Universal City, south of the Warner Bros. studios complex in Burbank.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said two teens from Illinois were in custody and told authorities they caused the fire.

“They’ve admitted that they started this fire,” the mayor said at a news conference. He said they were “old enough to know what they were doing.”

The teens walked into a Burbank police station in midafternoon and were turned over to Los Angeles police Friday, police Lt. Ron Caruso said.

The 16- and 17-year-old boys, who were visiting Los Angeles with their parents, had been staying at the housing complex, the mayor said.

They have been arrested on suspicion of reckless setting of a fire and released to their parents, said Ron Myers, a fire department spokesman. They could be charged after prosecutors review the case Monday, he said.

For several hours smoke roiled into the sky behind the famous Hollywood sign that stands on the south face of the hills, but the flames made no move down the south face and by late afternoon the landmark appeared to be well out of any danger.

Both boys have returned to Illinois and face a hearing in 60 days. You know they had to get the hell out of there before their neighbors made them steam clean the entire apartment building. They could get up to three years in juvenile detention if they’re found guilty. Experts say a lack of rainfall and a very dry winter contributed to the quick spread of the fire.

As of Sunday the fire was 50% contained, and was expected to be fully controlled by Sunday night. Over 200 firefighters and 5 helicopters fought the fast-moving fire.

Pictures thanks to The LA Times and Canyon News. Some were user-submitted where noted.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

4 Responses to “Hollywood Hills fire started by two teens”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. daz says:

    we need to get a handle on this new generation. It all starts with parents. you and me.

  2. julie says:

    Daz…What? Kids have been doing stupid things since the dawn of time. I see nothing “new generation” about this whatsoever.

  3. daz says:

    thats true. so maybe I just think a little direction and involvement would curb such behavior. hopefully…….yeah right huh?

  4. Other Karen says:

    I really hope the wind was involved and they weren’t stupid enough to start a fire right by some dry grass.