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Dead firefighters mothers asks arsonists to come clean

Published 29/10/2006

The mother of one of the four firefighters who died battling a wildfire

started by arsonists has urged those who set it to turn themselves in.

``I firmly believe you didn't believe that things were going to turn out the

way they did, but they did,'' said Bonnie McKay, whose son Jason, 27, died on


``Don't let the remorse eat you alive. Come forward. ... I for one

will try not to judge you. There is only one who can judge you.''

Meanwhile, firefighters took advantage of calm weather and dissipating winds

to make headway against the 62-square-mile wildfire in southern California.

A major operation involving a fleet of helicopters and aeroplanes,

including a DC-10 Jumbo jet poured water and retardant helped put down the


Janet Upton, a California Department of Forestry spokeswoman at the command

post in Beaumont, 90 miles east of Los Angeles, said that today marked the turning point.

Almost half of the 39,900-acre blaze was contained, two days after blowtorch gusts

overran a US Forest Service crew, killing four of its members and leaving a

fifth clinging to life with burns over most of his body.

Firefighter Pablo Cerda, 23, was in a critical condition yesterday at

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center after surgery on Friday to remove damaged


A reward for information leading to the arsonist soared to $500,000

on Friday.

Investigators were looking into whether the wildfire was related to other

blazes in recent months, including a canyon fire last weekend, although a

sheriff's spokesman said there was no immediate indication of a serial


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