VICTORVILLE – Two arson suspects have been apprehended following an investigation into over 35 fires in Victorville and Hesperia. The two suspects later identified as Cody McGee, 26, and Gerald Fontaine, 50, both of Adelanto.
County Fire officials said that McGee and Fontaine are alleged to over 30 fires set at the Mountain Vista Apartments, one at the Golden Sands Apartments, a fire at J&K Feed & Pet Supplies, and three attempted fires at the Hesperia Feed Bin. The fires began in August 2016, at the Mountain Vista Apartments, located at 15450 Nisqualli Road in the City of Victorville. These fires consisted of both dumpster and vegetation fires. One of these fires caused some damage to one of the apartment buildings, putting residents at risk, but no injuries were reported as a result of these fires.
The 2-alarm fire at J&K Feed and Supplies, located at 16361 Yucca Street in the City of Hesperia was on October 23, 2016. The suspects in this incident set hay bales on fire. Fortunately, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading from the hay and into any other structures; including a nearby gas station.
In November 2016, three more fires at the Hesperia Feed Bin, located at 16770 Yucca Street in the City of Hesperia were attempted to be set but were unsuccessful. Fire officials determined that all of the over 35 fires were ignited using an incendiary device.
On Friday, January 6, 2017, during a surveillance operation by the San Bernardino County and Sheriff’s Departments, the two suspects were apprehended following a dumpster fire at the Golden Sands Apartment complex in the City of Victorville. The surveillance, which took place for several months was set up because of the suspicious and similar nature of all the fires.
“These types of cases remain a high priority for us. A lot of time and effort go into solving arsons. We remain dedicated to aggressively pursuing those who maliciously set fires and put others in harm’s way,” stated Fire Chief/Fire Warden Mark Hartwig. “People in the High Desert are safer today because of the hard work and joint efforts such as this one.”
McGee and Fontaine were booked into the Adelanto Detention Center for PC451(d); arson to property, with bail set at $50,000. Both are scheduled to appear at the Victorville Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon. Additional charges are expected to be filed with the District Attorney’s Office.
Fire Marshal Mike Horton reminds residents of the importance of fire safety and to report any suspicious activity immediately by calling 9-1-1 or the We-Tip hotline. Your vigilance may save your life and the lives of others.
“The safety of the residents in this county remains a top priority for all of us in public safety. The arrests of these two suspects were a result of teamwork and determination,” stated Sheriff John McMahon.
Anyone with further information is asked to contact investigators via dispatch at 909-356-3805 or We-Tip at 800-47-ARSON (800-472-7766). Courtesy photos from the arson fire at the J&K Feed and Pet Supplies can be located at http://sbcofd.smugmug.com/…/…/FC-JK-Feed-Yucca-Valley-2nd-Al.
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