Teens admit to starting brush fire with Molotov cocktails

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SAN DIEGO - A brush fire ignited near Escondido Wednesday night after two teenagers lit homemade Molotov cocktails and smashed them near some brush, Cal Fire official said.

The brush fire kicked up at 8:10 p.m. Wednesday in River Canyon. The fire spread rapidly up a hillside towards Ridgeway Creek Road and threatened a residential neighborhood of around 60 homes. San Diego County Sheriff's deputies responded and had several residents voluntarily evacuate and closed roads in the area.

Cal Fire crews then responded and battled the blaze, which burned 15 acres before firefighters contained it.

Shortly thereafter, deputies found two teenagers on the 29700 block of Platanus Drive, about two blocks from where the fire started. The teens, 13 and 14, were interviewed and admitted to accidentally starting the fire, Cal Fire said.

The teens told investigators they made Molotov cocktails by pouring 124 proof liquor into an empty beer bottle and making a wick out of a paper towel, investigators said. They then went to a nearby undeveloped housing pad, lit the cocktail and threw it against a boulder, which ignited a fire.

The teenagers said they panicked and ran home when they were unable to put out the flames, Cal Fire said. Deputies arrested the unnamed teenagers before releasing them to their parents.

CAL FIRE says that based on similar incidents in the past, the teens parents could be held responsible for the cost of the fire. The case will be submitted to the San Diego District Attorney for review and consideration. No structures were burned and all roads opened at about 11 p.m.