Report: Cigar, golf club may have sparked Poinsettia Fire

SAN DIEGO - While the cause of the Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad is still officially undetermined, investigators speculate  that possible accidental causes include a cigar or golf club, according to a report obtained by U-T San Diego.

Carlsbad Fire Department arson investigators still do not know what caused the blaze that broke out May 14 and burned 600 acres, damaged an 18-unit apartment building, eight homes and three commercial structures. However, the fire department report ruled out any natural causes or arson, according to a story in the U-T Wednesday.

In May, 10News obtained video shot by Adam Jordan at the Omni La Costa Golf Club that appeared to show the origin point of the fire.

"I saw a bush on fire next to the golf course and then all of a sudden the whole tree got engulfed in flames," Jordan told 10News back in May. "And you could see someone in a golf cart drive away, stop about a couple of hundred yards, turn around and just start watching it. From there it took a matter of 20 minutes to jump over the street into the hillside."
 
The video prompted investigators to focus on a group of golfers who played through the seventh hole several minutes before the fire broke out, the U-T reports. After several interviews, they found no specific evidence the golfers had acted recklessly.  

Carlsbad Fire Investigator Dominic Fieri ruled out causes such as lightning or the course’s irrigation system. He also determined it could not have been deliberately caused.

He determined it could have been sparked by a burning cigarette or cigar, or even by a titanium golf club head, the U-T said. Two recent fires in Orange County were linked to golfers hitting out of rocky areas with dry vegetation nearby, the U-T reported.

The Poinsettia Fire was one of more than a dozen wildfires that erupted in San Diego beginning May 13, burning down 65 structures, including 46 single-family homes. Several apartments and commercial structures also were destroyed.

The fires scorched tens of thousands of acres, forced hundreds of evacuations and temporarily closed numerous schools and businesses. Damage to private property was estimated at a total of $29.8 million. Officials set the costs of extinguishing the wildfires at $27.9 million.

A juvenile was arrested on arson charges in connection with the Cocos Fire in San Marcos. The Bernardo Fire was determined to have been accidentally sparked by a backhoe.

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