U.S. flags torched in Mission Viejo

MISSION VIEJO Evan Fewsmith's trees next to his home in Mission Viejo are charred after someone set them on fire along with his U.S. flag. He since has replaced the burned flag with a new one.

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"They tried to set the flag on fire, but it was a nylon flag so they weren't successful in getting it to burn to the degree they wanted. They did destroy it," said Fewsmith.

The incident took place at around 5:00 a.m., Thursday. Fewsmith was asleep when his neighbor and a newspaper carrier grabbed a garden hose to help slow down flames until firefighters arrived.

"It is still hard to say how many people were involved. The only thing we know at this point is that it was an intentionally set fire. There was evidence of a flammable liquid of some sort on the trees," said OCFA Batt. Chief Kris Concepcion.

"Yesterday I was mostly frightened and today I am mostly angry. It is such a cowardly small thing to do," said Fewsmith.

It is the second incident this week in Mission Viejo. Just two streets over 80-year-old Harry Johnson walked out Monday morning to get the newspaper and saw his flag burned.

"I turned around and I was shocked. I could not believe it," said Johnson.

Johnson's five brothers served in World War II.

"I can't understand why they would want to burn the flag," said Johnson.

"I believe everyone has a right to express their opposition to the war if that's in fact what this was about, and I suspect it was. But do it in a way that doesn't cause harm to others, doesn't disrespect the men and women that are over there fighting," said Fewsmith.

From this criminal act has come some good. New flags are now on display in Fewsmith's neighborhood.

"They ran out and they bought flags to which is really kind of wonderful. So we actually have all in a way been unified by this," adds Fewsmith.


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