Newhall arson suspect returns to court

Firefighters contain a small brush fire in the riverbed near Railroad Avenue and 15th Street in Newhall on Friday Dan Watson/ The Signal.

A woman accused of starting a brush fire in Newhall earlier this month returned to court Wednesday. 

Maria Herrera, 28, is accused of purposefully igniting a brush fire on Oct. 2 at around 3:30 p.m.. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze within seven minutes of their arrival, but not before the blaze had burned 2 acres of land near 15th Street and Railroad Avenue. 

SCV Sheriff’s Station officials confirmed the arson investigation shortly after the fire was extinguished, noting that multiple witnesses identified a woman seen leaving the scene of the blaze as a possible suspect in what’s believed to be a fire that was deliberately set.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire. 

The defendant was charged with a felony count of driving or taking a vehicle without consent; and arson of a structure or forest. 

The D.A.’s Office added the additional allegations due to Herrera’s criminal record. Herrera was sentenced in 2014 to three years in state prison for a no-contest plea to a robbery charge from 2012. In April 2019, she pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of presenting false identification to a police officer. In March, she pleaded no contest to a drug-possession charge, according to court records available online from the Los Angeles County Superior Court website.

Herrera is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 9 for a pretrial hearing.

Herrera is being held in lieu of $255,000 bail at the Century Regional Detention Facility.

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