Investigators Determine Fire Along Golf Club Road Adjacent to Diablo Valley College Caused by Fireworks; Second Area Fire Caused by Juveniles in Weeks’ Time
CONCORD, CALIF. – Con Fire today announced its fire investigators identified two juveniles believed responsible for an illegal fireworks-related fire in the vicinity of Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. The fire follows another last week in the Vine Hill neighborhood of Martinez, also caused by juveniles.
Investigation at the fire scene revealed a tennis ball-size explosive mortar thrown from a passing vehicle caused the fire that burned approximately a quarter acre of grass and trees around 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill.
The device, designed to be used in a special launching tube, exploded, without the tube, on the ground spraying sparks 360 degrees around it rather than in the air as intended. Had weather conditions been less favorable, wind-blown embers could have threatened surrounding homes, campus buildings and parked vehicles.
While investigating the fire, Con Fire investigators were notified by Pleasant Hill Police they had detained two juvenile suspects, observed fleeing the scene by an observant witness, at Contra Costa Boulevard and Doray Drive, Pleasant Hill.
After completing the fire scene investigation, the suspects, both 16 and residents of Pleasant Hill, were questioned and additional fireworks were confiscated. The suspects were released into their parents’ custody. Con Fire arson investigators will refer the case to the Contra Costa County Juvenile District Attorney on charges of Unlawful Fire (PC § 452(c)) and Possession of Fireworks (PC § 44- 2.002 CCCO 72-19).
The juvenile suspects will also be referred to Con Fire’s Youth Fire Setter Program.
Assisting agencies included Pleasant Hill PD and the CCC College District Police Department.
Con Fire investigators remind residents all fireworks, even if marked “Safe and Sane,” are dangerous and illegal in Contra Costa County. They urge residents to help them minimize the dangers of illegal fireworks use as we near the Fourth of July holiday by reporting any fireworks sales to the Arson Tip Line at 1-866-50-ARSON.
At 1-866-50-ARSON, residents can leave a recorded message about fire-related criminal activity in English or Spanish. Tips can be anonymous; all tips are treated confidentially. Fire investigators may need additional information, so inclusion of contact information is encouraged.
Information provided by Contra Costa County Fire Protection District