Bonfire blamed for 1 blaze

Bonfire blamed for 1 blaze

There are 19 comments on the Daily Breeze story from Nov 18, 2008, titled Bonfire blamed for 1 blaze. In it, Daily Breeze reports that:

A bonfire built by college students and never fully extinguished was responsible for the massive wildfire in Santa Barbara that destroyed 210 homes, authorities said Tuesday.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Daily Breeze.

The Enforcer

Santa Ana, CA

#1 Nov 19, 2008
These students are responsible for a devastating fire and should be held accountable. Ignorance and stupidity is no excuse. Maybe no jail time but how about 5,000 hours of community service each cleaning up and rebuilding what they destroyed. If I was a victim they would be hit with a lawsuit for replacement of property and inconvenience.

Before anyone proclaiims they're innocent, ask how much booze they consumed until 5 am?
fire danger

Santa Ana, CA

#2 Nov 19, 2008
i doubt if it was legal to have the bonfire even. weren't red flag warnings in effect ? either way, common sense needs to rule the day. i agree with the enforcer (this time) that community service will probably have more benefit than jail time. UCSB students ? my alma mata and i love it but still, party school.
Disgusted

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

#3 Nov 19, 2008
These are college students? What college do they attend - Santa Barbara's College for Morons? There were RED FLAG issues days before the weather even changed. They should be expelled from their school WITHOUT any refund to their parents. You know the party had dope & alcohol, too.
Tappy

Palo Alto, CA

#5 Nov 19, 2008
I can almost gurantee they will be charged with trespassing and felony arson. The real question is whether they will be charged with involentary manslaughter or other charges related to the injuries.

Think about it, the workers who ACCIDENTALLY started the Zaca fire, who were NOT trespassing initially go charged with felony arson. I don't think the Santa Barbara DA is shy about handing out arson charges. Here we have kids who were illegally trespassing and INTENTIONALLY started an illegal fire.

Seems like a clear cut case to me... throw the book at them. The only grey area is the manslaughter charges, which I think a very good case can be made for.

Santa Barbarian

“Barbaric as Santa!”

Since: Nov 08

Santa Barbara ,Malibu,Torrance

#6 Nov 19, 2008
As there seems to be some misconceptions, here's some facts:
One person died from a heart attack after fleeing the fire.
Three people were seriously injured--two had to be flown to Irvine Med Center Burn Ward.
Many homes were destroyed (including homes of my friends and family), As someone mentioned, many pets died. Wildlife in the area was descimated.

These are also facts:
College students, high school students and others often had bonfires in that area. EVERYONE up here knew the possible source.
There are no "No Fire" signs in the area (although everyone who lives up here should be aware of the potential. But students--hey.)
The area is not fenced or in anyway protected aginst "trespassing" (not sure if they were actually on private property--it is hard to tell in that area but I don't believe so.)
The kids DID think that they had the fire out--if this was the source, it is a sad and horrible accident--not a criminal action. The concensus here in SB is that we don't need to ruin 10 more lives with criminal charges. The fire already sucked as did the Gap Fire that hit us from the other side earlier this year.

Last fact: You can always help when a fire or other disaster hits by volunteering at evacuation centers, animal evac centers, giving to the Red Cross, whatever. Try donating some time, I found it benefited me as much as those I was helping.
Tappy

Palo Alto, CA

#7 Nov 19, 2008
Santa Barbarian wrote:
...it is a sad and horrible accident--not a criminal action. The concensus here in SB is that we don't need to ruin 10 more lives with criminal charges.
I think that point could be made if the students were on public land where bonfires were allowed. Then it truely would have been an accident and I would agree. But these kids were trespassing and started an illegal fire. I don't see how the DA couldn't file charges under these circumstances.
LOL

Anaheim, CA

#8 Nov 19, 2008
Stupid is expensive these days.
LOL

Anaheim, CA

#9 Nov 19, 2008
manhattan beach dude wrote:
<quoted text>
You know the party had dope & alcohol, too,
OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!
so what?
So what?

Pot and alcohol promote studid actions.

That's what.
LOL

Anaheim, CA

#10 Nov 19, 2008
Santa Barbarian wrote:
As there seems to be some misconceptions, here's some facts:
One person died from a heart attack after fleeing the fire.
Three people were seriously injured--two had to be flown to Irvine Med Center Burn Ward.
Many homes were destroyed (including homes of my friends and family), As someone mentioned, many pets died. Wildlife in the area was descimated.
These are also facts:
College students, high school students and others often had bonfires in that area. EVERYONE up here knew the possible source.
There are no "No Fire" signs in the area (although everyone who lives up here should be aware of the potential. But students--hey.)
The area is not fenced or in anyway protected aginst "trespassing" (not sure if they were actually on private property--it is hard to tell in that area but I don't believe so.)
The kids DID think that they had the fire out--if this was the source, it is a sad and horrible accident--not a criminal action. The concensus here in SB is that we don't need to ruin 10 more lives with criminal charges. The fire already sucked as did the Gap Fire that hit us from the other side earlier this year.
Last fact: You can always help when a fire or other disaster hits by volunteering at evacuation centers, animal evac centers, giving to the Red Cross, whatever. Try donating some time, I found it benefited me as much as those I was helping.
If every act of illegal stupidty was excused, our system would fall apart very quickly.

At the moment, it's only falling apart slowly.

We have LAWS for a reason. If those laws are broken, and the result is death and/or physical damage to another, or municiple costs...who do you think should be responsible?

Frankly, I am sick and tired of paying for others "mistakes", "poor judgement" and random acts of stupid behavior.

Laws are partially ment to be a deterent, enforcing those laws with penalities helps deter the next lawbreaker.
Jury

Santa Maria, CA

#11 Nov 19, 2008
Fires are not an oops, I'm sorry it was just an accident. It is this kind of mentality that leads people to NOT think before they ignite a dangerous fire. Most people think that putting water or dirt on a fire until they do not see a flame means a fire is out ... no, it is still burning if you can't put your hand into it. Leaving any heat or embers is negligent during fire weather in a brushy environment. If the public viewed escaped fires as an act of violence instead of as "an accident", there would far less uncontrolled fires each year. This fire was negligent, caused violence (two people severely burned), and resulted in at least 210 other felonies (ask the folks that lost their homes if a felony occurred). Unfortunately seeing how the Zaca Fire went through the courts, these guys will probably get off with misdemeanors in the end. So the fire cycle continues ...

Santa Barbarian

“Barbaric as Santa!”

Since: Nov 08

Santa Barbara ,Malibu,Torrance

#12 Nov 19, 2008
LOL wrote:
<quoted text>
If every act of illegal stupidty was excused, our system would fall apart very quickly.
At the moment, it's only falling apart slowly.
We have LAWS for a reason. If those laws are broken, and the result is death and/or physical damage to another, or municiple costs...who do you think should be responsible?
Frankly, I am sick and tired of paying for others "mistakes", "poor judgement" and random acts of stupid behavior.
Laws are partially ment to be a deterent, enforcing those laws with penalities helps deter the next lawbreaker.
The fact is that the level of negligence PROBABLY doesn't meet the level required for CRIMINAL negligence. In answer to who should be responsible? Well, CIVILLY those who started the fire should be responsible. Not to put this on those who lost their homes (including friends and family of mine) but many did not have their brush cleared properly nor did they take any measures to make their homes more fire resistant (notice some houses survived). No matter, this fire and the other fires are horrible tragedies that I wish did not happen. Yes, the students that may have strted this fire should have been more careful. I also wonder if others where not there 12 hours later as the point of origin is a nightly "bonfire" event. We will see.
LOL

Anaheim, CA

#13 Nov 19, 2008
Santa Barbarian wrote:
<quoted text>
The fact is that the level of negligence PROBABLY doesn't meet the level required for CRIMINAL negligence. In answer to who should be responsible? Well, CIVILLY those who started the fire should be responsible. Not to put this on those who lost their homes (including friends and family of mine) but many did not have their brush cleared properly nor did they take any measures to make their homes more fire resistant (notice some houses survived). No matter, this fire and the other fires are horrible tragedies that I wish did not happen. Yes, the students that may have strted this fire should have been more careful. I also wonder if others where not there 12 hours later as the point of origin is a nightly "bonfire" event. We will see.
Depends on the circumstances.

If a "guilty act" was committed; i.e. trespassing and/or creating an illegal fire, then criminality may established. Or, at the very least, reckless negligence vs. criminal negligence.

Either way - they should be prosecuted and punishment implemented.

Something that fits the crime, say, garnishment of a percentage of future wages (get a job NOW) to help offset the costs to the municipalities and those who suffered loss due to these little morons actions, and some sort of community service.

We are failing, as a society, to teach our young people to THINK before they act. We are failing at teaching them to consider consequences. We are failing at instilling sympathy and empathy.

It will all come back to haunt us in the very near future I fear.

Santa Barbarian

“Barbaric as Santa!”

Since: Nov 08

Santa Barbara ,Malibu,Torrance

#14 Nov 19, 2008
LOL wrote:
<quoted text>
Depends on the circumstances.
If a "guilty act" was committed; i.e. trespassing and/or creating an illegal fire, then criminality may established. Or, at the very least, reckless negligence vs. criminal negligence.
Either way - they should be prosecuted and punishment implemented.
Something that fits the crime, say, garnishment of a percentage of future wages (get a job NOW) to help offset the costs to the municipalities and those who suffered loss due to these little morons actions, and some sort of community service.
We are failing, as a society, to teach our young people to THINK before they act. We are failing at teaching them to consider consequences. We are failing at instilling sympathy and empathy.
It will all come back to haunt us in the very near future I fear.
Our youth--INCLUDING US have always acted without thinking. We gain more wisdom by our mistakes. Unfortunately, we do a lot of dumb things as kids. Other criminal acts do not necessarily affect the level of negligence in a criminal case. The actions of these kids likely doesn't meet the level of criminal negligence.

No matter, yes, civil action might be appropriate. Frankly, accidents DO happen and that is why we all carry insurance (although the insurance companies don't seem to think so anymore.) Relly, do you think that even 10 kids (all of age with no "parental responsibility" involved) are going to EVER be able to pay off the loss?

Really, pointing fingers at this point seems moot to those friends and family of mine who lost everything. Heck, I only lost two jobs (as I restore cars and two were burned in the fire)--they lost everything. I just went into the other room to ask my two friends who are staying with me (as their homes were destroyed) what they thought and they don't care who's to blame--they just want to get on with life.
Tappy

Palo Alto, CA

#15 Nov 19, 2008
It's a criminal act... what they did was illegal. Just like my drinking and driving example... everyone knows it's illegal and if you get caught you get a bit of slap on the hand. But if you drink and drive and kill someone you get more than a slap on the hand... you get a severe punishment.

This is the same situation, the initial crime on it's own deserves a slap on the hand... but since the outcome was so devistating they deserve a harsh punishment.

Santa Barbarian

“Barbaric as Santa!”

Since: Nov 08

Santa Barbara ,Malibu,Torrance

#16 Nov 19, 2008
Tappy wrote:
It's a criminal act... what they did was illegal. Just like my drinking and driving example... everyone knows it's illegal and if you get caught you get a bit of slap on the hand. But if you drink and drive and kill someone you get more than a slap on the hand... you get a severe punishment.
This is the same situation, the initial crime on it's own deserves a slap on the hand... but since the outcome was so devistating they deserve a harsh punishment.
Obviously you re neither a judge or a lawyer. Criminal acts have certain requirements, not just because you think it is. This cannot compare to a DUI as a DUI shows both intent and negligence that exceeds the level necessary to be criminal. The outcome of a situation has little to do with whether or not an action is "criminal". That is criminal law.,

Now, on the otherhand, civil law may make them very liable, but collecting the moneys for a liability judgement, especially in this type of situation may be near impossible.

Just because a DA prosecutes or a lawyer sues doesn't mean that a person is guilty of a criminal or civil offense. It cer5tainly doesn't mean one can collect on a civil offense.
Tappy

Palo Alto, CA

#17 Nov 19, 2008
Santa Barbarian wrote:
<quoted text>
Obviously you re neither a judge or a lawyer. Criminal acts have certain requirements, not just because you think it is.
Simple question... was it illegal for them to start a bonfire up there?

Answer = yes
Jury

Santa Maria, CA

#18 Nov 19, 2008
Criminally, under the Calif Public Resource Code... an escaped fire is prime fascia evidence of a negligent fire. Not a hard thing to understand. This was an illegal fire and those in attendance need to be held accountable period. Criminally this is not a hard case to meet the various criminal elements required for either the Penal Code violations or the Public Resource Code violations. May ther all go to jail.
The Civil cases would be a breeze since one only needs to find someone 51% responsible ... squeezing money out of a turnip would be the issue.

Santa Barbarian

“Barbaric as Santa!”

Since: Nov 08

Santa Barbara ,Malibu,Torrance

#20 Nov 21, 2008
If you want to know a bit more about the fire, the students, etc. from a Sanya Barbara point of view, here are a few great online articles:

What SBers think the students should do...
http://www.keyt.com/news/local/34818964.html

General news...http://www.edhat.com/

Some good info on the Tea House/Garden and the fire's origin...
http://www.independent.com/news/2008/nov/20/u ...

Santa Barbarian

“Barbaric as Santa!”

Since: Nov 08

Santa Barbara ,Malibu,Torrance

#21 Nov 25, 2008
PLEASE, pray for us as we are surely goona get mud slides here. 2200 homes are under slide evac. gotta go.

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