J. Vincent Piluso 3:20 p.m., May 20
ENSENADA (SanDiegoRED) - A family of five, including three children, died inside their home in the Northwestern port of Ensenada, in the Mexican State of Baja California, from a fire while they slept, official sources reported Tuesday. The extensive fire started after midnight in colonia La Picosita, causing the death of two adults and three children, one aged 13, one 9 and a month-old baby, according to information provided by the state authorities. The cause has not yet been established. Baja California has had a warm weather wave associated with the so-called winds of Santa Ana, which has made it even more difficult to quell the fires in the area during the last two days.
TIJUANA (SanDiegoRED, Omar Millán) - A fire consumed 16 homes on Monday, and authorities evacuated 80 people in colonias populares Ampliación Tejamen y Lomas del Rubí, located southwest of the city, municipal authorities reported. No fatalities were reported, however Secretaría de Desarrollo Social Municipal enabled a temporary shelter for families affected in deportiva Crea de la zona Río. The Fire Department said that the incident began at 10: 30 in the morning after a trash fire began on calle Rubí de la colonia Ampliación Tejamen, a neighborhood located 15 minutes from the city center. The fire was stoked by strong winds, high temperatures and a dry environment. It spread to the Lomas del Rubí leading to the total loss of 16 houses. By noon, the smoke from the fire had made the air hot and dense in the Center district. The authorities reported the fire was controlled at 6: 30 in the afternoon. They had involved six fire stations and 20 units using machines and pipes, as well as three units for the fire coming from the direction of Bomberos de Playas de Rosarito. The City Council registered 20 women, 17 men, 13 young people and 30 children made homeless after the incident. Carlos Martínez, director de Bomberos, requested the population take precautions in the event of an emergency, and report any threat of fire or to #066 or if they see people burning garbage in a pasture.
SANTA ANA (SanDiegoRED) - The leader of a band that trafficked undocumenteds by sea, and three of his accomplices, were in federal court to answer charges against them. Mario Echeverría, 24, a naturalized US citizen, is appointed by the authorities as the ringleader of the group. Javier Gómez Domínguez, 30, of Mexico, was in charge of caring for a house in the city of Anaheim where undocumenteds arrived. José Sevilla, 26, of Mexico, was the captain of the boat and Fernando Medina Gonzalez, 43, of Mexico, was in charge of maintaining it. The operation that led to the capture of the traffickers was launched on Friday last week when authorities found the panga abandoned on a Carlsbad beach, in north of San Diego County. The boat sailed from the port of Ensenada toward the coast of Los Angeles, but a malfunction in the engine made the boat stop at Carlsbad where nine undocumenteds and the four suspects landed. Investigators were led to a house in Anaheim where they found nine undocumented Mexicans, still wearing the wet clothes. The detainees are accused of plotting and carrying illegal aliens. The charge has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The case is being processed by the Office of the Prosecutor of United States in the Central District of California. Officials of the Department of Homeland Security said that this is an example of increasing attempts to bring illegal migrants to the US by sea. Such attempts, said sources from the Department of customs and border protection, began in San Diego and they have extended to the coast of the Los Angeles area.