A late-night brushfire sparks up near Cal State LA


Photo courtesy of Cal State LA Chief, Larry Bohannon.

Fire that started on campus and was being put out by the fire department.

On April 25, a fire enveloped brush and a palm tree near the transit center on campus. The only video of the fire, first posted by Instagram account, “csulatruth,” is by a passerby who filmed the tree engulfed in flames. As the person filming drove away, they captured the sight of flames in the distance, consuming much of the surrounding grass.

The brush fire was reported around 9:40 p.m.

Ten minutes later, the fire department showed up to the scene, according to Chief of State University Police and Director of Public Safety Larry Bohannon. He said the fire was put out at 10 p.m. and that the fire had only spread to the surrounding foliage. No buildings or structures were affected, and no one was hurt. The extent of the damage the fire had caused was only to the surrounding brush, the grass and a singular tree, according to Bohannon.

The next day, it seemed that not many students knew there was a fire on campus.

Celeste Antuna, a first-year pre-sociology student, described her shock about hearing of the fire.

I didn’t even know there was a fire,” Antuna said. “I’m not an expert, but did someone set the fire or something? If it was an intentional fire, people should be worried about their safety.

 Bohannon expects no foul play, stating that the fire department didn’t find any evidence of an arsonist.

“If they don’t find any signs of intentional fire, either a gas can, smoke gas, or something like that, their determination [of the fire] is undeterminable,” Bohannon said.

While the fire was reported, it is unclear who reported it to campus police.

“We’re not sure how we got the report,” Bohannon said. “As far as witnesses, we didn’t take any statements from witnesses or anything like that.”

There were no witnesses on the scene, according to Bohannon.

“The source or cause of [the fire] was undeterminable,” Bohannon said. “They didn’t see it as being threatening to any structures or anything like that.” 

California’s fire season claimed 2,568,948 acres of land last year, according to Cal Fire. These fires resulted in a total of 8,835 incidents, 3,629 damaged or destroyed structures and three fatalities.

Bohannon even mentioned that he saw a brushfire earlier in the week, along the freeway. 

In the future, Bohannon recommends that students call the fire department immediately if they see a fire.

“Brush fires during this season are pretty high,” he said. “The fire department responds, and they put the brush fire out. It’s very common during this season, starting now until the end of this summer.”