A car that went up in flames after crashing at the end of a pursuit started the 300-acre brush fire that destroyed three homes and two outbuildings in Jurupa Valley, police confirmed Thursday morning.
The so-called 46 Fire was reported about 12:40 a.m. in the 5300 block of 46th Street, at the west end of Flabob Airport, and was 15% contained as of mid-afternoon, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The fire prompted evacuations which were lifted by Thursday afternoon as firefighters began to get the upper hand on the flames.
The chase began when Riverside police officers on patrol spotted a stolen vehicle on Van Buren Boulevard, according to Riverside Police Department Officer Ryan Railsback.
The pursuit ended when the car jumped a curb and drove into a field across from the Rancho Jurupa Sports Park, at 5249 Crestmore Road.
Friction from a tire rim sparked flames.
Dry brush went up in flames in the wind-driven fire. Two men ran from police and were arrested.
Bryan Alexis Anguiano, 23, and Kevin Alonso Hidalgo, 28, were apprehended about 1:15 a.m. in the area of Arlington Avenue and Van Buren Boulevard in Riverside.
Anguiano was booked into the Robert Presley Jail on suspicion of auto theft, burglary and felony evading. Hidalgo, a convicted felon, was booked into the same facility on suspicion of parole violations.
A nearby pet adoption center became a shelter for up to 60 dogs and 100 cats.
Two elementary schools, Indian Hills and Peralta, were closed.
As a result of the blaze, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he had secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure the availability of resources.
The 46 Fire started just hours after the 600-acre Hill Fire damaged homes in the same area. All evacuation orders were lifted for the Hill Fire.
Top news of the day
City News Service contributed to this report.