Two Juveniles Arrested For Setting Christmas Tree Fires

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TWO ARRESTED FOR SETTING CHRISTMAS TREE FIRESThe Long Beach Police and Fire Departments are pleased to announce that two arrests have been made for three fires set to Christmas trees in residential areas, putting lives and property at risk.

On Tuesday, January 3, 2012, a Long Beach Police East Division officer responded to the alley in the 1500 block of Sherman Place to assist the Long Beach Fire Department with a Christmas tree fire. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and the officer began investigating the incident. A second East Division officer responding to assist discovered a second Christmas tree engulfed in flames in the 2300 block of E. 15th Street, and observed a male juvenile flee from the scene. The officer began setting a perimeter, and then using the fire extinguisher his vehicle was equipped with, was able to put out that fire. The Fire Department then responded and extinguished a third fire located in the alley in the 1500 block of Stanton Place.

Through information provided from witnesses, officers were led to a residence in the 1600 block of Stanton Place. At the residence, the assisting officer recognized one of the minors, a 14-year-old from Long Beach, as the male subject who fled from the fire scene shortly before, and he was detained. A 15-year-old female in the residence was also detained and both were subsequently arrested. The Long Beach Fire Department Arson Investigator responded to the scene and began his investigation.

Both minors were transported to the Long Beach Police Department’s Youth Services Section and were booked for arson of property.

Every year, the Long Beach Fire Department responds to dozens of Christmas tree fires. Some of those cause further damage to surrounding structures and/or vehicles. Any fire, especially those set to Christmas trees, have the potential to cause serious injury or death to people, and destruction to homes, businesses, and automobiles, due to the trees being extremely dry and highly flammable. The punishment for arson is up to three years in state prison, lifetime registration as an arsonist, and one strike. This does not include penalties which are much more severe for incidents causing injury or death, damage to adjacent structures, vehicles, or other property.

The L.B.F.D. would like to pass along the following tips to minimize the risks of Christmas tree related incidents:

  • After the holidays, remove the tree from the household as soon as possible
  • Bag the tree in plastic and store in an open area such as a backyard and away from any structures or heavy vegetation. If a yard is not available, place the bagged tree at the curb where trash is normally collected.

On Saturday, January 7, 2012, the City of Long Beach’s Department of Public Works’ Environmental Services Bureau will be offering a Christmas tree pick-up service. Christmas trees will be picked-up from all residences within the City of Long Beach, which have City refuse service. Trees must be placed where trash is normally collected by 7:00 a.m. In addition, the Environmental Services Bureau has established 12 free Christmas tree drop-off locations throughout the city, which will be available through Friday, January 6th. Trees disposed of in either manner must have all decorations and stands removed. Trees over 12 feet should be cut in half and flocked trees are acceptable. A complete list of drop-off locations and additional information can be found by visiting

Anyone who sees any suspicious individuals or activity is strongly encouraged to call 9-1-1 immediately. Anonymous tips may be submitted via text or web by visiting

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