’46 fire’ burns 300 acres, destroys 3 homes, 5 outbuildings in Jurupa Valley

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File photo courtesy of Jeff Hall/Cal Fire San Diego

JURUPA VALLEY (CNS) – A 300-acre wind-whipped brush fire that started early today at the end of a police pursuit of a stolen car destroyed three homes and two outbuildings in Jurupa Valley before crews began to gain the upper hand.

The so-called 46 Fire was reported about 12:40 a.m. in the 5300 block of 46th Street, at the west end of Flabob Airport, and was 15% contained as of mid-afternoon, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

The wind-whipped fire expanded to 75 acres in less than two hours amid extreme red flag conditions, prompting evacuations for residents in neighborhoods south of Limonite Avenue, west of Crestmore Road, east of Van Buren Boulevard and north of the Santa Ana river bottom. Residents in an area bordered by Riverview Drive, 46th, Calle Hermosa and Rio Road had previously been evacuated.

All evacuation orders were lifted by 2 p.m.

The chase began about 12:15 a.m. when Riverside police officers spotted a 2014 Dodge Dart reported stolen out of Riverside going northbound on Van Buren Boulevard, Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback said.

He alleged that the driver, 23-year-old Bryan Alexis Anguiano, refused to stop and sped away toward Jurupa Valley, where sheriffs deputies joined the chase.

The suspect “drove over several curbs and fencing,” blowing car tires as he careened into a vacant field near the Santa Ana River bottom at 46th Street and Crestmore Road, the officer said.

“It appears heat from the stolen vehicle’s wheels ignited a fire
underneath it,” Railsback said. “The car became fully engulfed and led to a
vegetation fire in this field and river bottom area.”

Bryan Alexis Anguiano, 23, and Kevin Alonso Hidalgo, 28, were apprehended about 1:15 a.m. in the area of Arlington Avenue and Van Buren Boulevard in Riverside.

Anguiano was booked into the Robert Presley Jail on suspicion of auto theft, burglary and felony evading. Hidalgo, a convicted felon, was booked into the same facility on suspicion of parole violations.

About 200 firefighters worked to encircle the brusher, with the help of several Cal Fire water-dropping helicopters.

Road closures were in effect on 46th, Riverview and Rio. Additonally, a temporary flight restriction was in effect on the north side of Mt. Rubidoux, forcing pilots trying to take off or depart from Flabob to obtain prior authorization from fire personnel.

As a result of the blaze, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he had secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure the availability of resources.

The Department of Animal Services was offering temporary free board of evacuated pets at the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter, 6851 Van Buren.

5:30 p.m. Thursday: This story was updated with additional information on fire containment and the identities of the men suspected of driving a stolen vehicle who were involved in a crash that caused the fire.

7:45 p.m. Thursday: This story was updated with additional information about the crash that caused the fire.