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Sundance Fire Suspects Under House Arrest Pending Trial

MADERA COUNTY – The two Coarsegold teens charged with starting the Sundance Fire, that burned 13 acres along Road 420 on Sept. 13, appeared in court on Wednesday for a detention hearing.

Both boys, ages 13 and 14, were ordered to be placed under strict house arrest with electronic monitoring, are only allowed to go to and from school under the supervision of their parents, and are prohibited from being in possession of flammable material of any kind, according to District Attorney David Linn.

“The judge was very specific,” says Linn. “They’re not even to come out the front door and sit on the porch, due to their close proximity to the woods.”

Linn says he has asked for a psychological evaluation on both juveniles, and wants to see them go through counseling if necessary. He also expressed concern about what he says is becoming an epidemic with young males and arson.

“It seems to always be young boys, and it seems to hit them just at puberty, this absolute fascination with fire,” says Linn, who notes that he has discussed the issue with PhDs who deal with this type of case. “It’s something that’s happening nationwide. The young man responsible for the John West fires just couldn’t control himself; even after going through everything, he and his father still showed up at the Willow Fire, in violation of a court order.”

The next court appearance for one of the Sundance Fire suspects will be Oct. 8 for a pretrial hearing, and the other is set to appear on Oct. 28. Each has his own attorney, and are appearing in separate proceedings. Both are charged with felony arson and unlawfully causing a fire.

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