134. 48 Homes Burn Down near Malibu (1)

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It was only three days after Thanksgiving. The Santa Ana winds had returned to Los Angeles for the weekend. Fire crews were on the alert throughout the county, ready for more fires. Just a month earlier, 20 fires had occurred throughout four southern California counties. Almost half of them were the result of arson or human carelessness. Officials hoped that this weekend would be uneventful.

Near the end of the road that goes into Coral Canyon, which is only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean and Malibu, is a small park. That park is a popular weekend gathering place. People party there until early morning hours. These people do not live in Coral Canyon. They are outsiders. They do not pay any attention to park rules about hours (the park closes at dusk), fires (no fires of any kind are permitted), or littering. But because of a constant lack of funds, no park rangers are ever available to enforce these regulations.

Early Sunday morning, Jimi Hendrix, a resident of Coral Canyon, heard loud rock music as a car drove down out of the park. That car was followed by another vehicle, also playing music loudly. "For crying out loud," Jimi muttered, "it's 3:00 a.m. Do these a-holes have any consideration for others?" He tried to go back to sleep. Ten minutes later, his friend Bill Gahr called.


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