Fire Investigators View Video of Men Spotted Near Origin of Fullerton Wildfire - NBC Southern California
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Fire Investigators View Video of Men Spotted Near Origin of Fullerton Wildfire

One of the two men seen in the video already interviewed by investigators.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Investigators are looking for men seeing leaving the scene of a Fullerton brush fire that threatened homes. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2015. (Published Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015)

    Fire investigators are using a Newschopper4 video to help them determine how the Coyote Hills wildfire began Tuesday in Fullerton.

    The video showed two men near the origin of the wildfire. One man could be seen descending a slope, and the other man walking down a dirt road carrying a small dog. Newschopper4 happened to be approaching the nearby Fullerton Airport when the fire was first spotted, and reached the scene before first responders.

    "Because it showed people, we wanted to try to identify them and speak with them," said Julie Kunze, Deputy Chief of the Fullerton Brea Fire Command. "Right now, they are just people of interest... not necessarily suspects."

    Chief Kunze revealed that one of the men was located and has been interviewed by Fullerton police. With the investigation ongoing, authorities to declined to reveal what they learned from the man.

    Fullerton Fire Origin

    [LA] Fullerton Fire Origin
    Video uploaded Wednesday Sept. 9, 2015.
    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015)

     

    Firefighters continued to douse hotspots Wednesday, but the burn zone had been contained at 80 acres of a 500-plus acre wildnerness area along the border of Fullerton and La Habra.
    Once used for oil drilling, the Coyote Hills property remains under the ownership of an arm of the Chevron company. The property is surrounded by a chainlink fence topped with barbed wire and posted with numerous signs forbidding trespassing.

    Nevertheless, several homeless camps have sprouted on the property. The fire's point of origin appears to have been near one of those camps, and it's believed the two men in the video were associated with it, Kunze said.

    "He's scrambling to get out," said NBC4's Gil Leyvas from his vantage point on Newschopper4 on spotting the man trying to escape the flames.

    Responders came across a wheelchair at the camp, and there was early concern about one man who could not accounted. He was later located and was the person investigators already questioned, according to Kunze.

    The property's future has been the subject of more than a decade of controversy. Community members formed a group called "Friends of Coyote Hills" to oppose a proposed residential development. The group favors instead keeping the space open as a "nature park," said

    vice-president Karen Lang-McNabb.
    The city has been exploring options for acquiring the property. The issue was the subject Tuesday afternoon of a city hall meeting that was interrupted by word of the then-spreading fire, according to Lang-McNabb, who was present. 
    "We're more likely to be pro-active to prevent this type of thing if it's managed properly," said Lang-McNabb. "We will have funds to do it if it is a nature park."
    Chevron and the City of Fullerton have yet to respond to requests for comments made late Wednesday afternoon.
    Investigators are still attempting to identify and contact the second man seen in the video.

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