Police believe a homeless Nigerian national living in California may have information about the wildfire that is going down in the books as the largest in Los Angeles County history to date.
About one week before the major blaze started, 25 year old Babatunsin Olukunle was stopped while feeding a much smaller fire near where the Sation fire would later be started. On that day two forest workers stopped Olukunle to speak to him but he ran off while they were putting out the small uncontrolled fire.
One week later and only 6 miles from the site of that much smaller fire, the larger Station fire would start and grow to be a record setter. Two firefighters died fighting the Station fire and many believe the arsonist responsible should be charged. First, they must figure out who started it.
According to the LA Times, police aren’t calling Olukunle a suspect but merely a person of interest. Olukunle’s family states he has seemed to battle mental illness over the past several years and they themselves haven’t spoken to him since 2007.
Experts have determined that the Station fire was indeed an arson and reveal an accelerant seems to have been used to spread the fire.
Arson is, by far, the most serious of all property crimes. The potential for widespread damage, both to property and people, is huge. Because of this, arson charges carry hefty penalties.
What was burned determines the potential sentence a suspect will face. For instance, if you burn uninhabited property, the sentence is 16 months to 3 years. If, however, you cause inhabited property to burn you will face 3 to 8 years.
The sentences are dramatically increased if someone is injured or killed in the fire.
Property crimes aren’t always handled with a slap on the wrist. Destruction of property is typically taken pretty seriously in the California legal system, and certainly a criminal offense like arson is always a serious matter.