A Torrance man is in custody, suspected of starting a brush fire in Yorba Linda. Photo courtesy of OnSceneTV
A Torrance man is in custody, suspected of starting a brush fire in Yorba Linda. Photo courtesy of OnSceneTV

A 26-year-old Torrance man was booked on suspicion of igniting a 17-acre brush fire in the hills of Yorba Linda Thursday.

Erik Virgil was booked on suspicion of arson following his detention moments after the fire was sparked near the 21400 block of Casino Ridge Road, according to Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock.

About noon today, authorities were notified of the blaze, Hallock said. A helicopter unit sent to the scene to help direct traffic in the area spotted a man running from a burning vehicle, prompting sheriff’s deputies to try to apprehend him on the ground, Hallock said.

The terrain was too difficult to penetrate. However, there was a Los Angeles County sheriff’s unit in a helicopter with SWAT officers at that time, Hallock said.

The aircraft landed and Los Angeles County sheriff’s SWAT officers corralled the suspect and flew him to a nearby park, where he was handed over to Orange County deputies, Hallock said.

The man was taken to a nearby hospital for a checkup and later placed under arrest, Hallock said.

Orange County Fire Authority arson investigators will now handle the case, according to Hallock.

About 120 firefighters were dispatched to battle the blaze, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Matt Levesque said. One firefighter suffered a knee injury and had to be taken to an area hospital, according to OCFA Capt. Steve Concialdi.

Firefighters initially had some difficulty getting to the blaze on the ground, but also were doing aerial water drops, Levesque said.

Three air tankers from the state fire department dropped fire retardant, and the OCFA and state had helicopters making water drops, according to Concialdi.

Anaheim and Fullerton firefighters also helped battle the blaze, Concialdi said.

City News Service 

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