Firefighter's Son Charged in Orange County Arson Cases

The arson charges involve a series of brush and vehicle fires in Orange County

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gabriel Castillo, 19, is accused of setting three brush fires in Orange County last week. The local community was shocked to discover he was the son of a veteran firefighter. Gadi Schwartz reports from Anaheim Hills for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2013. (Published Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013)

    The 19-year-old son of a firefighter was charged Tuesday in connection with a series of arson cases, including five brush fires earlier this month in Yorba Linda and Anaheim.

    Gabriel Michael Castillo, of Anaheim, was charged with five felony counts of arson of forest, three felony counts of arson of another’s property, and one felony count of receiving stolen property.

    The felony arson of forest counts stem from a series of brush fires Aug. 19 within a four-hour period -- two in Anaheim and three in Yorba Linda. One of the Yorba Linda fires was in an area burned by the devastating Freeway Complex Fire in 2008.

    During the arson investigation, authorities found a stolen watch and mobile phone inside Castillo's sport utility vehicle, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.

    The property arson cases involve three vehicle fires in Anaheim set over two days in May.

    No injuries were reported.

    "We get burned, bruised and bleed over serving the community and stopping these very things," said Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Kelly Zimmerman. "So when it turns out to be a family member of one of our employees, it's particularly devastating."

    Castillo, arrested Sunday, faces a maximum penalty of 13 years and eight months in state prison. The district attorney's office plans to request bond in the amount of $100,000 at Castillo's Tuesday arraignment

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