LAFD investigators say fire was ‘intentional attack related to homeless encampment’
by Eddie Rivera
(This story was updated Wednesday, September 4.)
The son of a prominent Eagle Rock resident and business owner was arrested Saturday along with a friend, and booked on suspicion of attempted murder in last weekend’s fire which broke out at the intersection of the 2 and 134 Freeways in Eagle Rock.
The two suspects will be charged with felony arson Wednesday.
Nogueira’s bail was set at $1 million. He has since been released from custody.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s records, Araujo-Cabrera has been arrested at least four times since 2017. His current bail on four charges is set at $1,116,000.00. He and Noguiera are reportedly cousins.
Daniel’s father, Michael, is the longtime owner of Sir Michael’s Party Rentals in Eagle Rock, and is a former president of the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce. Daniel’s aunt, Yolanda, is the former president of the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce. The family patriarch, Michael Sr., was also prominent in local Democratic Party circles.
LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section (LAFD ACTS) Investigators began a detailed investigation into the origin and cause of the fire, as the blaze was still active. Utilizing burn patterns, witness statements and surveillance videos, LAFD ACTS personnel determined that the fire was “an intentional act related to a homeless encampment near the origin of the fire, and that those living in the encampment were specifically targeted by the suspects.”
The brush fire occurred as a direct result of the attack, the LAFD reported.
LAFD Arson Investigators and Detectives from the LAPD Major Crimes Division served multiple search warrants on Saturday, August 31, culminating in the arrest of Daniel Michael Nogueira (DOB: 2/23/94) of Eagle Rock, and Bryan Antonio Araujo-Cabrera (DOB: 6/13/94) of Pacoima.
The fire, reported at 4:09 PM on Sunday, August 25, 2019, in the 2900 block of West Colorado Boulevard in the City of Los Angeles, brought a large contingent of fire department responders, according to the LAFD. The first LAFD engine arrived less than four minutes after the first 911 call, and found a swiftly moving wildfire in steep terrain with thick underbrush. The fire eventually took nearly 48 hours to fully control.
More than 80 firefighting resources were brought to the blaze—including a total of more than 300 firefighters by land and air, including every available LAFD helicopter, bulldozer and water tender. The coordinated teamwork of LAFD and allied agencies held the fire to 45 acres, with no structures lost. Though there were no civilian injuries, one firefighter from a mutual aid fire department sustained a non-life threatening injury. He was transported to the hospital for care, and later released.
The case against the men will be brought to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for felony arson filing consideration on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.