Person of interest not so interesting, it turns out

According to a post a few minutes ago on The Los Angeles Times Breaking News Blog, the 20 year-old man detained overnight as a person of interest in the Griffith Park fire is no longer a suspect.

The man had reportedly been smoking a cigarette or using matches when the fire broke out. He is being treated treated for burns at a San Fernando Valley burn facility. Los Angeles Fire and police officials continue to try and determine how the fire started, whether it was deliberately set or accidental.

Last night, I watched some coverage on television, and I was a little annoyed at how hard one reporter was trying to get the LAFD spokesman to call the fire arson (the Mayor clearly said in his 11 pm press conference that is it not) or commit to other details on the mystery man who wandered out of the blazing brush shortly around the time the fire started yesterday, when it was obviously way too early to make any definitive statements in that regard. It was sort of like this:

Reporter: So, is this arson?
Fireman: We’re not sure.
Reporter: Hmmm-mmm. So arson, then?
Fireman: It’s too early to tell. We’re just trying our best to fight the fire and save homes.
Reporter: Do you have any more information on that dude who came out of the canyon?
Fireman: He’s being treated for burns and interviewed. It’s too early to say anything more than that.
Reporter: Did he do the arson?
Fireman: I’m going to cockpunch you now.

I think it’s respectable and responsible for city officials to stay away from the type of sensationalized statements the media so obviously wants them to make, at least until they are absolutely sure about the facts.

The times says that at least 600 acres have burned, no homes have been damaged destroyed, and the fire is 40% contained, which is pretty good news, since the humidity is expected to drop again today, and the temperatures are expected to be in the 90s.

4 thoughts on “Person of interest not so interesting, it turns out”

  1. Are you fucking kidding? ANYONE who smokes or uses matches, lighter, etc. in a place like Griffith Park on a day as dry as yesterday SHOULD ABSOLUTELY BE CONVICTED OF ATTEMPTED ARSON. That motherfucker DESTROYED 600 acres of OXYGEN and they’re letting him GO??? Fuck that. Where is he? I’ll take justice into my own hands.

  2. They’re quick to try to box the cause of fire into one of the following:
    1) Homeless man caused it (ALWAYS the default)
    2) Someone smoking caused it
    3) it was arson.

    LA burns itself many many times in the dry season. given the animals hadn’t already left, the fire may have not had a natural start (brush fire) but still… so quick to want to blame a homeless man or arsonist…

  3. ever notice the large amount of trash and shit you see in these “rustic” parks, including broken bottles? ever use a magnifying glass on a hot sunny day to burn something? I know Californians are all “OH FUCKING SMOKERS ARE THE SCOURGE OF THE EARTH AND SHOULD BE PUT ON CATTLE CARS AND TAKEN TO CAMPS WHERE THEY ARE GASSED AND ARGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGH” but seriously, there are plenty of reasons why dry brush can ignite on a hot day. But you know, whatever supports your biases, I suppose. ALL SMOKERS ARE ARSONISTS AND MURDERERS.

  4. While not excusing the blatent carelessness of the smoking man, we should be careful not to make quick judgments before we know all the facts. There are so many budding vigilantes out there just waiting for a chance to kick ass, that it is just as irresponsible of us to “fuel the flame”, so to speak. Monday’s episode of CSI Miami focused on this very real issue — and though just a fictional program (based on reality), it demonstrated how quickly the media comments can spark the mob mentality.

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