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The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder and the Agony of Engine 57 Audio CD – Unabridged, August 27, 2013
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The Esperanza Fire started October 26, 2006, in the San Jacinto Mountains above the Banning Pass near Cabazon, California. It destroyed 41,000 acres and dozens of homes and cost the taxpayers $16 million dollars. But by far the highest costs of the conflagration were the lives of the five-man crew of Engine 57, the first engine crew ever killed fighting a wildland blaze. Fire and superheated gases had erupted in a freak “area ignition,” sending flames racing across three-quarters of a mile in mere seconds, engulfing the crew and the house they were defending.
The deadly blaze was quickly determined to be no accident. Within a week, serial arsonist Raymond Lee Oyler was arrested and charged with almost two dozen counts of arson—and five counts of first degree murder. The Esperanza Fire recounts with drama and precision the gripping details of the fire and of Oyler’s precedent-shattering trial and its stunning conclusion.
John Maclean spent more than five years researching the Esperanza Fire and covering the trial of Raymond Oyler. The result is a thrilling, moment-to-moment insider’s chronicle of that devastating and tragic inferno and the pursuit, capture, and prosecution of the man who intentionally set it.
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“It reads like a taut murder mystery, a whodunit novel you can’t put down.”
―The Forestry Source
“Maclean is a fine storyteller . . . he writes a chiseled prose that does justice to the action.”
—The Washington Post
“Maclean is a highly skilled journalist and a fine writer. His ability to mold fragments from the incident―thoughts, actions, variables and decisions―into a fluid account is riveting. . . . Fair, complete and masterfully done.”
―Wildland Fire magazine
“Poetic and impeccably reported.”
“Larkin brings a theatrical style, respectfully, to the narration of this true story.”
About the Author
- Publisher : HighBridge Audio; Unabridged edition (August 27, 2013)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 600 pages
- ISBN-10 : 162231266X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1622312665
- Item Weight : 9.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.4 x 1.1 x 5.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,255,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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was surprising, as were the meticulous methods of investigation used to determine just what happened. This book provided an eye-opening though sad learning curve for me - and I applaud author Maclean for keeping the narrative interesting and provocative.
As far as this book goes, I appreciated the information about the people and their families, the details about fire fighting, but it fell and little short as a true crime book i.e. little about the arson investigation.
I was a crew boss on a fire in this area in 1996, have driven all the roads in and around the San Jacinto Ranger District, have hiked a trail or two there and thus am very familiar with the locations involved. The ability and precedence of convicting arsonists for murder is long overdue. I hope that it has provided a deterrent for potential arsonists in southern California. Hopefully some of them have read this book as well.
I hope John Maclean will take up the task and write a book about the Yarnell Hill Fire. I can't think of anyone more qualified and proven than he. I've read all of his books and each one is better than the last. Each needs to be read by all of us in the family. Reading the reports and books like this are essential to reducing casualties in an increasingly dangerous activity.
Sometimes the geography/topography is hard to follow, but after coated 15 or 16 there are maps and pictures of the terrain. Highly recommended.
This will educate and scare you. God bless our first responders!