LA County supervisors renew $50K reward for Station Fire arson

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A local resident watches a firefighting helicopter drop water ahead of the Station Fire as it approaches homes August 31, 2009 in Tujunga, California.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today renewed its $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever started last year's deadly Station Fire.

An additional $100,000 has also been offered by the state.

Two Los Angeles County firefighters died in the blaze, the largest in the county's history, which burned 250 square miles and destroyed about 90 homes and more than 100 other structures.

Several areas of the forest are expected to remain closed for years. Flooding and mudslides continue to plague residents below the burn areas during heavy rains, costing the county millions in debris and mud removal, on top of the estimated $95 million it cost to fight the massive blaze.

Capt. Tedmund Hall, 47, and Spc. Arnaldo Quinones, 35, died four days after the fire began. Just after setting a backfire to try and protect a fire camp on Mount Gleason, the truck the firefighters were in plunged down an 800-foot ravine and was engulfed in flames.

A subsequent county study found that poor communications and a failure to evacuate an isolated fire camp in the middle of the rugged mountains, as flames raced in that direction, had put the firefighters and inmate fire crews in grave danger.

Investigators have determined that the fire was deliberately set on Angeles Crest Highway, about one mile above the Angeles Crest Fire Station, around 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 26. Reporters were told that investigators had found a fire-causing substance, but not a device, and there was "clear evidence that the fire was intentionally set.''

The reward was set to expire Saturday, but a recommendation by Supervisor Michael Antonovich extended the offer until at least Sept. 3.

Detectives from the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau, (323) 890-5500, are handling the death investigation.

KPCC's Cheryl Devall contributed audio to this report.

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