VENTURA Two teenagers playing with fireworks were arrested Saturday after accidentally setting fire to a parched Ondulando area hilltop, sparking a 400 acre brush fire that came within yards of expensive ocean view homes and sent billowy clouds of brown smoke over the city.
Both teens, whose identities were not released because of their ages, face felony charges for the negligent or reckless use of fire and the unlawful causing of a fire on forest lands, said Sandi Wells, a Ventura County Fire Department spokeswoman.
Officials said the pair confessed after two hours of questioning, telling investigators that they had bought the fireworks in Fillmore where the cheap jaguars jerseys purchase and use of fireworks are legal.
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teens were released to their parents, who will likely be charged with the cost of fighting the blaze.
The price tag will include the efforts of 400 firefighters cheap bills jerseys from five agencies, three helicopters dousing the fire with water and five airplanes dropping chemical retardants.
The fire which was burning into the night Saturday in the desolate no man’s land between Ventura and Santa Paula was 60% contained by nightfall.
Firefighters hoped to have it beaten by midnight, Wells said.
Although the blaze came within a football field’s length of homes along Westridge Drive and Los Padres Court, no buildings were seriously threatened by the blaze and no residents were evacuated, Ventura County Fire Capt. John Alford said.
Ventura resident Dennis Frey was one of the first to notice the blaze.
“I looked over and saw a fire about the size of a pickup truck on the northeast wholesale texans jerseys side of the stables,” he said. “Then I heard the kids say, ‘Let’s get the hell out of here.’ ”
Frey said he told the kids, both neatly dressed, to wait while he called police.
But by the time he returned five minutes later, they were bolting down the hillside, which was by then consumed with flame.
As eastward winds pushed the fire away from the stables, Frey was able to safely escort eight horses off the hill and call the owners of about eight goats to cart them away as well.
The inland bound winds and a clean sweep of brush free land cleared by residents as part of the city’s weed abatement program helped keep the fire at bay, Alford said.
Onshore breezes throughout the day kept the fire burning away from homes and across Harmon Canyon toward Long Canyon, giving anxious residents cause to relax and enjoy the spectacle.
As small pockets of flames flared on the hillside behind her home and smoke colored the sky dark gray, Ann Filsinger sat on her neighbor’s front lawn sipping a Diet Coke.
“People are pretty relaxed,” she said. “On a day like this with the winds blowing east, there is no danger. We’d be acting much different in the winds were blowing in the opposite direction.”
Proclaiming the blaze a “cool” show, teenagers sat on a roof a few houses down the street while adults relaxed in lawn chairs in the shade of their garages, hoping to catch a better glimpse of the flames with binoculars.
Some homeowners, who said they were at first panicked at the thought of losing their homes as fire leaped from the ridge overhead, said they were considering starting up a barbecue.
“I feel a lot better since the Fire Department got here,” said Pam Monroe. “It seems to be pretty contained.
Even as firefighters continued to battle flare ups a stone’s throw from their Westridge Drive property, Mario and Kay Mangone said they were leaving for an evening engagement.