Two men have been accused of setting a blaze at a homeless encampment that grew into a large brush fire and prompted evacuations in Eagle Rock and Glendale late last month, authorities said.
Daniel Michael Nogueira and Brian Antonio Araujocabrera, both 25 and of Los Angeles, were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder Saturday by detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Major Crimes Division, a police spokesman said.
The men are accused of setting a fire at a homeless encampment in the 2900 block of Colorado Boulevard on Aug. 25 that grew into a brush fire that choked the area with a large plume of smoke, authorities said.
Fire officials said the men specifically targeted the homeless encampment, but did not offer a motive for the attack or explain how the fire was set. Investigators identified Nogueira and Araujocabrera by analyzing “burn patterns, witness statements and surveillance videos,” according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles Fire Department late Tuesaday night.
No buildings were damaged or destroyed, though the blaze did force some people to flee their homes and sparked panic in the area. One firefighter sustained a minor injury responding to the blaze, authorities said.
Roughly 100 homes were threatened in Glendale, fire officials said at the time. The blaze happened near the intersection of the 2 and 134 freeways, which forced transit officials to close stretches of both thoroughfares for several hours.
Los Angeles fire officials said nearly 300 firefighters responded to the blaze, which affected 45 acres of vegetation.
Nogueira’s father, Michael, is the president of the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce. Property records show a Daniel Nogueira with the same date of the birth as the suspect arrested in the arson living at an Eagle Rock address. Michael Nogueira also lives at that address.
An employee who answered the phone at the Chamber of Commerce said Michael Nogueira had been the president of the organization for at least 10 years and described him as growing “distressed and distraught” when he learned of his son’s arrest.
Nogueira was being held in lieu of $1-million bail, but posted bond and was released Sunday, according to jail records. Attempts to contact the Nogueira family were unsuccessful.
It was not immediately clear if Araujocabrera, who resides in Pacoima, remained in custody.
Investigators plan to present a case to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office Wednesday, according to an LAPD spokesman.
It was not immediately clear how the fire was set or if the homeless encampment was targeted.
The fire was set one day before another arson rocked Los Angeles’ homeless community. The following night, prosecutors allege, 38-year-old Jonathan Early set a tent ablaze in downtown Los Angeles’ skid row, severely burning 62-year-old Dwayne Fields.
Fields, a homeless musician whom friends knew as Darrell, died of his injuries a short time later.