City News Service

Two Sentenced for Starting Morris Fire North of Glendora

Christopher Paul Ortega of Glendora, 21, and Santino Francisco Gnaulati of Covina, 22, pleaded no contest to one count each of recklessly causing a fire.

What to Know

  • Christopher Paul Ortega of Glendora, 21, and Santino Francisco Gnaulati of Covina, 22, pleaded to charges of recklessly causing a fire.
  • Ortega was immediately sentenced to 16 months behind bars. Gnaulati was ordered to serve 180 days in county jail and three years probation.
  • The fire was reported by a passerby on Aug. 7, 2018.

Two young men have pleaded no contest in connection with a fire that burned about a quarter-acre of brush near Morris Dam north of Glendora last summer.

Christopher Paul Ortega of Glendora, 21, and Santino Francisco Gnaulati of Covina, 22, pleaded no contest Thursday to one count each of recklessly causing a fire, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Ortega was immediately sentenced to 16 months behind bars, while Gnaulati was ordered to serve 180 days in county jail and three years probation, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The two started the fire near Highway 39 in the San Gabriel Mountains last Aug. 7, according to prosecutors.

The fire was reported by a passerby just before 3 a.m. that day, Nathan Judy of the U.S. Forest Service said shortly after the blaze.

"Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze ... using ground crews and night flying helicopters from the Forest (Service) and L.A. County," Judy said.

The person who reported the fire saw two people in a turnout near Morris Dam and followed their white GMC pickup truck, noting its license place number.

With assistance from Azusa police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the vehicle was located and two suspects were arrested, according to the Forest Service.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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