Cocos Fire

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Cocos Fire
Cocos fire - part of May 2014 San Diego County wildfires.jpg
The Cocos Fire burning above CSU San Marcos, on May 14, 2014
LocationSan Marcos, San Diego County, California
Coordinates33°06′49″N 117°09′36″W / 33.1137°N 117.1599°W / 33.1137; -117.1599Coordinates: 33°06′49″N 117°09′36″W / 33.1137°N 117.1599°W / 33.1137; -117.1599
Cost$5.7 million (2014 USD)[2]
Date(s)May 14, 2014 (2014-05-14) – May 22, 2014 (2014-05-22)
Burned area1,995 acres (8 km2)
Buildings destroyed40
DeathsNone reported
Non-fatal injuries3
Perpetrator(s)Unidentified juvenile
Cocos Fire is located in southern California
Cocos Fire
Location of fire in Southern California

Cocos Fire, originally known as the Twin Oaks Fire,[3] was a wildfire that ignited on May 14, 2014 in San Marcos, California, in the hills south of California State University, San Marcos.[4] The Cocos Fire quickly spread into western Escondido. The fire destroyed more than 40 buildings, including a dozen single-family homes.[5] The Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association, a 13-acre spiritualist retreat founded in 1896, was particularly hard hit;[6] most of the buildings and residences on the property were destroyed, and the association's president said, "We're pretty much wiped out."[7] Property damage from the fire is estimated at more than $5.7 million. Three minor injuries have been reported.[2] The Cocos Fire was the last of the May 2014 wildfires in San Diego County to be extinguished, with full containment on May 22, 2014.[1]


The Cocos Fire began at 5:38 PM PDT on May 14, and it had burned 400 acres (160 ha) by the evening of the same day. Flames were reported near homes, and the southeastern part of the city was ordered evacuated.[4] By the morning of May 15, the Cocos Fire was the top priority for county firefighters. The fire grew overnight to 800 acres (320 ha) and was only 5% contained. Additional evacuations were announced.[8] During the afternoon of May 15, the fire grew to 1,200 acres (490 ha).[1] By the morning of May 16, the fire was still only 5% contained.[9] At 6:30 PM PDT on May 22, the Cocos Fire was reported to be 100% contained, after it had reached 1,995 acres (8.07 km2).[1]

All schools in the San Marcos Unified School District were closed on May 15 and 16.[10] California State University, San Marcos, was evacuated on May 14, along with the surrounding neighborhoods, in the midst of administering spring finals,[11][12] and remained closed for the rest of the week. Additionally, commencement exercises scheduled for the weekend were also cancelled.[13] Palomar College also closed May 15 and 16, and postponed its commencement ceremonies until the following week.[14]

Investigation and trial[edit]

On July 9, 2014, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said that they believe the Cocos Fire was intentionally set by a 13-year-old juvenile.[15] She had a hearing set in February 2015, and the trial was held in March 2015.[16] On March 24, the then 14-year-old minor was found guilty of multiple counts of arson and one misdemeanor count of unlawfully allowing a fire to escape one's control. The judge concluded that she "intentionally and maliciously" set a fire in her Washingtonia Avenue backyard in San Marcos, and a blown ember from that Washingtonia Fire started the Cocos Fire.[17][18] On May 27, the teenager was sentenced to 400 hours of community service, ordered to write letters to all the victims, and pay at least $40,000 in restitution.[19] Additionally, the teen was ordered to enroll in a rehabilitation program known as Breaking Cycles 365, the goal of which is to prevent juveniles from becoming repeat offenders.[20]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cocos Fire". CAL FIRE. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Fire Coverage: Cocos Fire, San Marcos". CBS 8. May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  3. ^ "Brush fires break out and spread in northern San Diego County". Los Angeles Times. May 14, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "California Wildfires: Homes Burn in Carlsbad; Flames Threaten Fallbrook and Camp Pendleton". The Weather Channel. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  5. ^ "20+ Buildings Lost in Cocos Fire". 7 San Diego. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  6. ^ "Harmony Grove Spiritual Community Destroyed by Cocos Fire, Dozens of Homes Lost". 7 San Diego. May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  7. ^ Warth, Gary (May 23, 2014). "After fire, spiritualists look to future". San Diego Union Tribune.
  8. ^ "San Diego Wildfires: Crews Fight Flames In San Marcos, Carlsbad and Camp Pendleton". May 15, 2014. Archived from the original on May 15, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "Friday Updates on San Diego Fires". NBC San Diego. May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "School Closure Updates & Fire Resources". San Marcos Unified School District. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  11. ^ "Cal State San Marcos evacuated; 30 homes burn in Carlsbad". Los Angeles Times. May 14, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  12. ^ Adams, Andle (May 14, 2014). "CSUSM, Neighborhoods Evacuated in San Marcos Fire". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Fire continues to burn out of control in San Marcos". Fox 5 San Diego. May 14, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  14. ^ "Palomar College Closed Thurs., May 15 & Fri., May 16". Palomar College. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  15. ^ Figueroa, Terry (July 10, 2014). "Officials: juvenile started Cocos blaze". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "Trial Set for Teen Accused of Starting Cocos Fire". FOX 5 San Diego. Archived from the original on 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
  17. ^ "Teen Convicted of Setting Destructive San Diego County Fire". AOL. 2015-03-24. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
  18. ^ Littlefield, Dana; Figueroa, Teri (24 March 2015). "Judge: Teen's arson sparked Cocos fire". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  19. ^ Rascon, Matt (27 May 2015). "Cocos Fire Arsonist Learns Fate at Sentencing Hearing". NBC San Diego. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Breaking Cycles Commitment Track". San Diego District Attorney. Retrieved 1 September 2015.

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