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Station fire arson 'domestic terrorism,' officials say

Firefighters attend service for fallen comrades while homicide investigation continues

September 04, 2009|By Zain Shauk

HANSEN DAM PARK — An ongoing homicide investigation cast a cloud over a prayer gathering at the Station fire interagency command center here early Friday for two firefighters who died battling the massive blaze, which authorities now believe was deliberately set.

After firefighters met for the brief service, Incident Commander Mike Dietrich briefed reporters on the status of the 148,258-acre blaze and denounced the deadly act of arson that allegedly started it.

“I believe any act of arson in the wild is domestic terrorism,” Dietrich said.

An investigation at the fire’s suspected starting point in La Cañada Flintridge is ongoing and authorities would not say what led them to believe the blaze — which rapidly expanded into the largest in Los Angeles County history — was started intentionally.

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Los Angeles County Fire Department Specialist Arnaldo Quinones, 35, of Palmdale and Capt. Tedmund Hall, 47, of San Bernardino County, died while fighting the fire when their emergency response vehicle rolled off a mountainous road and fell 800 feet into a canyon.

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