Son suspected of setting family home on fire

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The son of the occupants whose Canyon Lake home was set on fire Tuesday was arrested the following day on arson charges. Canyon Lake residents are rallying support for the popular local family whose possessions were lost in the blaze that caused $400,000 damage.

Twenty-one-year-old Jackson Jeremy Jones was arrested after the fire was extinguished by 23 firefighters. Significant damage was sustained at the two-story house located near the corner of Canyon Lake Dr. and Rim Rock Pl., but the firefighters contained the fire to the single house.

“Firefighters quickly deployed a coordinated fire attack and searched for any occupants within the structure,” April Newman, of the Riverside County Fire Department, said. “The fire was contained to the structure with significant fire damage on both floors.”

CAL FIRE firefighters responded to the fire that was reported at 4:05 p.m. Five engine companies, one truck company, American Medical Company (AMR) and the Riverside Sheriff’s Department responded. Southern California Edison and the gas company also arrived on scene. The fire was fully contained at  5:16 p.m.

As the fire burned the family’s home, friends gathered in the street with the family trying to comfort them over their loss.

Of the 23 firefighters who were on the scene, several remained for hours after the fire was extinguished to further assist in the cleanup and investigation.

Arson was determined to be the cause of the fire. One of the family’s two dogs perished. The American Red Cross was requested to assist the two adults and two children who were displaced.

The following day, CAL FIRE Law Enforcement Officers, with the assistance of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, arrested Jeremy for allegedly setting fire to his family’s home. He was arrested at approximately 9 p.m. near Canyon Lake Dr. and Gulf Stream Dr. and booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

Jeremy will be arraigned today on the following charges: Arson to an inhabited dwelling, arson enhancement, criminal threats, enhancement of arson during a state of emergency, residential burglary and cruelty to animals. Jeremy’s bail is set at $2 million dollars.

Meanwhile, the community is rallying to help the family, who is staying at an undisclosed location, to rebuild after such a devastating loss.

Jeremy’s mother Raquel Pierce is active in the Canyon Lake community. She is a Girl Scout leader and the former president of the Canyon Lake Girls Softball League. Her daughter Megan attends Temescal Canyon High School and her youngest daughter Christina attends Canyon Lake Middle School.

Christina is known to many in the community as “the Girl Scout Cookie girl” because she sets up a table at the end of her driveway on Canyon Lake Dr. North and sells Girl Scout cookies every year. The Friday Flyer featured her in an article in 2015. When asked then what her favorite thing to do is, she replied, “I like giving donations to shelters like Animal Friends of the Valleys and hospitals best.”

Several fundraisers for the displaced family are underway.

Family friend and Canyon Lake resident Jamie Pulver set up a YouCaring account for the family who lost everything. At the time of print, $4,000 of the $15,000 goal had been reached. To make a donation, visit https://www.youcaring.com/raqueltobymegancristina-792787.

Summer Herbert, also a family friend and Canyon Lake resident, is accepting donations of hygiene items as well as Stater Bros and Target gift cards for the family. For more information about this fundraiser, contact Summer at  summerherbert@msn.com.

The Elsinore Elite Fast Pitch Softball team is hosting a “Taco Stand” fundraiser this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tuscany Hills Community Park.

A spokesperson for this fundraiser said 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the family.

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Donna Ritchie