Men Plead Not Guilty in Fireworks Case
Three Saugus men accused of starting a 400-acre fire in the Angeles National Forest by setting off illegal fireworks pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges.
During their arraignment in Newhall Municipal Court, James Bruggeman, 20, Michael McCune, 19, and Daniel Pearson, 19, were each charged with one count of unlawfully causing a forest fire and possession of an explosive device, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.
The men were arrested near the scene of Monday’s fire. Sheriff’s arson investigators said they accidentally began the blaze while exploding illegal fireworks they had purchased in Mexico.
The quick-moving grass fire began about 3:50 p.m. near San Francisquito Canyon Road and spread northeast into Angeles National Forest.
Newhall Municipal Judge Floyd Baxter reduced the men’s bail from $500,000 to $25,000 each Wednesday and set an Aug. 4 preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to hold them for trial.