Los Angeles homeless man charged with starting Palisades fire

He had been spotted by a police helicopter team trying to ignite more flames, police said.

Los Angeles homeless man charged with starting Palisades fire

A displaced man has been charged in connection with a Los Angeles wildfire which has ruined over 1,000 acres in steep and remote terrain and prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands of homes over the weekend, police said.

Ramon Rodriguez, 48, was taken into custody just before 11 a.m. Sunday, over 30 hours after the Palisades fire in the Santa Monica Mountains began. He had been booked on two arson charges and has been held on $75,000 bond.

Rodriguez was taken into custody after appearing from a burnt brush near where the flame was ignited and then treated for smoke inhalation. The arrest came after he was seen by a personal security guard who called the police.

Another person was arrested and released in connection with the blaze over the weekend.

The fire began Friday night and led to evacuation orders for houses in the Topanga Canyon area. It continued to propagate over the weekend into steep terrain and brush which hadn't seen fire in 75 decades. The fire department set hundreds of firefighters together with aircraft and bulldozers in an"all-out attack."

By Monday evening, all evacuation orders were raised as firefighters were making progress. As of Tuesday, the blaze was 32% included and'd burned 1,158 acres.

The day before he had been detained, Rodriguez was seen by a Los Angeles police officer team igniting multiple added fires after fire crews reported someone moving in the brush along a steep hillside near the fire, authorities said.


Authorities and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies tried to arrest him were overwhelmed by the growing fire and"were made to escape," that the LAFD explained.

A number of fires in Southern California have already been started by transients or have come from homeless encampments in the past couple of years.

A homeless man was sentenced in March to five years in prison for starting the Ranch 2 Fire near Los Angeles during an argument with a different transient. The fire charred thousands of acres and took fourteen days to include.

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