Man charged with setting off 'emergency signal' in Escondido fire

Posted at 11:52 AM, Jul 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-01 15:05:01-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - A transient man was arrested this week in connection with a 3-acre brush fire in Escondido.

Jose Duran Aguirre, 31, was arrested and charged Thursday with "recklessly setting fire to forest land" and "for discharging an emergency signaling device" in a manner other than permitted, Captain Jon Heggie of Cal Fire said Saturday.

Aguirre is accused of setting a 3-acre fire near Frances Ryan Park, along Hidden Trails Road, just before 3 p.m. Thursday. Cal Fire credited Escondido Police and Fire Departments for helping in the joint investigation and arrest.

"CAL FIRE works diligently in arson cases to aggressively investigate and prosecute those suspected of intentionally starting fires,” Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham said.

It took one tanker drop to subdue the fire, and forward progress was stopped within an hour. There were no reported injuries of damage to property.

RELATED: Person of interest in custody after 3-acre fire in Escondido

“Yesterday’s response is a great example of the benefits of local and state cooperation that led to the swift extinguishment, investigation, and apprehension of the suspect,” Escondido Fire Chief Rick Vogt said of the fire.

Aguirre is being held in San Diego Central Jail on $50,000 bail and scheduled to be arraigned on July 5.

The brush fire came on a day when San Diego fire resources were stressed, as three other fires were scorching areas around the region.

Cal Fire advises anyone who sees someone suspicious near a fire to make note of their description, the time, as well as any vehicles and license plates seen and contact law enforcement or Cal Fire's arson hotline at 1-800-468-4408.