A transient charged with sparking a 370-acre fire in the Montebello Hills pleaded not guilty Monday.
Arturo Miallan Aguilar, 46, is charged with recklessly causing a fire and faces up to three years in prison if convicted. He is due back in court Feb. 4 for a pretrial hearing.
Aguilar remains jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail.
Aguilar was arrested hours after the Aug. 16 blaze started in the Rio Hondo riverbed in Montebello and spread into the hills. Police said Aguilar was apparently trying to cook a meal when the fire spread.
A Southern California Edison worker fell and broke his leg and four firefighters were injured fighting the blaze. One suffered heat exhaustion, another a shoulder injury, one an eye injury and one firefighter complained of neck and back pain after a Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter made a hard landing at Rose Hills Cemetery due to a mechanical problem.
While no buildings were damaged, some residents were evacuated during the fire and there was damage to oil field infrastructure.
— City News Service