Homeless Man Suspected of Causing Lincoln Fire in Montebello

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A fire – apparently the work of an arsonist – that’s charred about 225 acres in the Montebello Hills and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County since Sunday afternoon was 60 percent contained Monday morning.

About 100 personnel were assigned to the firefight, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.

Authorities have arrested a homeless man suspected of causing the so-called Lincoln Fire, which broke out in a riverbed in and around the Montebello Hills about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, police said.

Arturo Miallan Aguilar, 45, was booked into the Montebello jail Sunday night on suspicion of arson and held in lieu of $35,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department records.

SuperScoopers and bulldozers were called in to battle the brush fire, which started in the Rio Hondo riverbed near the Whittier Narrows Reservoir, Montebello Fire Department Deputy Chief Dan Amador said.

 

A fire that was started in the Rio Hondo Riverbed near the Whittier Narrows Reservoir, burned 225 acres in and around the Montebello Hills Sunday. (Montebello Police Department)

A fire that was started in the Rio Hondo Riverbed near the Whittier Narrows Reservoir, burned 225 acres in and around the Montebello Hills Sunday. (Montebello Police Department)

The blaze jumped roads and threatened oil fields and structures in the area, though none burned, Amador said.

A huge plume of black smoke was visible from across Los Angeles and Orange counties, as heavy brush burned just southwest of the interchange of the Pomona (60) and San Gabriel River (605) freeways.

Four firefighters were injured fighting the blaze, Amador said. One suffered heat exhaustion, another a shoulder injury, one an eye injury, and one firefighter complained of neck and back pain after a Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter made a hard landing at Rose Hills Cemetery due to a mechanical problem.

Two recently arrived SuperScooper water-dropping aircraft leased to the county from the Province of Quebec assisted brushfire strike teams. The fixed-wing planes skimmed water from the lake at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, according to Irwindale police.

The SuperScoopers were not expected to be deployed Monday, but were on standby if needed, the county fire department reported.

Firefighters from departments in Monterey Park, Monrovia, Arcadia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Glendale and San Gabriel were assisting in the firefight.

Some area homes were subject to voluntary evacuations.

The fire closed stretches of Lincoln Avenue, San Gabriel and Rosemead boulevards and Durfee Avenue, according to Montebello police and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The eastbound Pomona Freeway was closed at San Gabriel Boulevard around 5 p.m. Sunday, but reopened about 3 1/2 hours later, according to the California Highway Patrol.

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