April 1, 2007 / 12:10 AM / 12 years ago

Teens confess to starting fire near Hollywood sign

Smoke rises behind the world famous Hollywood sign on Mount Lee near Los Angeles, March 30, 2007. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two Illinois teenagers face felony arson charges after confessing to sparking the 150-acre (60-hectare) brush fire that blackened the sky over Los Angeles’ famed Hollywood sign with smoke and threatened an apartment complex, police said on Saturday.

The 16- and 17-year-olds, who were vacationing in Los Angeles with their parents, turned themselves in to Burbank police and were transferred to the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday.

“They’re facing felony charges of arson,” said Los Angeles Police Department officer Mike Lopez.

He could not immediately confirm press reports the boys were released to their parents.

The blaze on Friday quickly consumed acres of parched vegetation and was subdued by nearly 200 firefighters and water-dropping helicopters. It never put Hollywood’s landmark sign, which is now made of steel, in imminent danger.

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