Clues in the Ashes

Fighting the flames is tough, but not as difficult as hunting down and arresting the culprits behind the destruction

The center of town had barely been saved; the remains of Sean Penn's $4 million home were not yet cool; 75-ft. flames were still roaring through the canyon when Ron Ablott's men hit the charred hills above Malibu. Crawling on their hands and knees, occasionally slipping a minuscule piece of ash into a plastic bag, they obviously belonged there. But unlike thousands of public employees battling the conflagration below, they were not concerned with fighting fires, at least not any burning currently. They were engaged in a manhunt.

From as early as the second day of the fires that have blackened...

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