wo men, 25-year-old Bryan A. Araujocabrera of Pacoima and 25-year-old Daniel M. Nogueira of Eagle Rock, were arrested in Eagle Rock on Saturday, August 31, six days after the Eagle Rock brush fire that started just after 4 PM on Sunday, August 25. The two men were booked on suspicion of attempted murder, Office Mike Lopez with LAPD said in a written statement.
KTLA reported that Araujocabrera’s bail was set at $1.116 million, and Nogueira’s bail was set at $1 million. Nogueira, who is the son of the President of Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce Michael Nogueira, posted bond and was released on Sunday, September 1.
Investigators believe that the fire was intentionally set after a verbal altercation between someone inside a blue pickup truck and occupants of a homeless encampment near the Glendale Freeway. An investigation by the LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section (LAFD ACTS) revealed the fire to be intentional and targeting the members of the encampment.
The fire spread to 45 acres over two days and involved over 300 firefighters by land and air, according to a report by the LAFD. While no civilians are reported to be injured, nor buildings destroyed, one firefighter did sustain a non-life threatening injury, and many were forced to evacuate the area.
Annie Choi, owner of Found Coffee, was working the day of the fire, but by the time the news of the fire reached her, the shop was nearly closed for the day. She said she saw smoke from her vantage point and noticed that traffic was backed up for hours. “We had a private event after hours and it took some of the guests 1.5-2 hours to get to the shop,” Choi told L.A. Taco over email.
It is not clear how members of the encampment were able to get to safety. This brings to attention emergency preparedness as it relates to the homeless population. Gary Painter is the director of social policy at the USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation, as well as the director of the Homelessness Policy Research Institute. “What do we have to do in the short term is to help people move off the streets in a safe way, and also you really have to be thinking about how you can help people in the long term to make sure that people can be rehoused,” Painter told the Taco.