By City News Service
Three men who were allegedly tossing papers into a campfire when winds sent embers into the brush above Glendora, setting off the 1,900-acre Colby Fire, were charged today with one federal count each of unlawfully setting a fire.
Clifford Eugene Henry Jr., 22, of Glendora; Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, a transient last known to live in Los Angeles; and Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale, face up to five years in prison if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. They are expected to appear in federal court in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday.
The three men were taken into custody shortly after the fire began Thursday morning amid a red flag warning denoting an elevated risk of wildfires. They were being transferred to federal custody today, prosecutors said.
Glendora police Chief Tim Staab last week a resident called police shortly after the fire began and reported seeing at least two people near what was believed to be the origin of the blaze.
"Reportedly, they were up, they had set a campfire," Staab said. "They were tossing papers into the campfire and a breeze -- reportedly -- a breeze had kicked up and set this fire."
Staab described one of the suspects as "apologetic," and said one of the men admitted to setting the fire.
Staab said the area where the men were found was not a camping area, but people are known to camp in the hills above Glendora.
"They told us they were camping out," he said. "There's no evidence to indicate they were living up there."
The Colby Fire was 95 percent contained today. The blaze has destroyed five homes, damaged 17 others and injured six people, including five firefighters and a civilian.