Man sus­pected of ar­son in fire at East Hol­ly­wood apart­ments

Los Angeles Times - - CITY & STATE - By Hai­ley Bran­son-Potts and Matt Hamil­ton hai­ley.bran­son @la­times.com Twit­ter: @hai­ley­bran­son matt.hamil­ton @la­times.com Twit­ter: @Mat­tHjourno

A 20-year-old man was arrested Mon­day on sus­pi­cion of ar­son af­ter a fire heav­ily dam­aged two East Hol­ly­wood build­ings that were un­der con­struc­tion, author­i­ties said.

Beni­cio Gar­cia of Los An­ge­les was booked on a count of ar­son and was be­ing held in lieu of $75,000 bond, ac­cord­ing to Amy Bast­man, a spokes­woman for the Los An­ge­les Fire De­part­ment.

Gar­cia was de­tained ear­lier in the day for ques­tion­ing, and de­part­ment spokesman Erik Scott had de­scribed the fire as “sus­pi­cious.”

The fire was re­ported at 6:04 a.m. at two ad­ja­cent three-story apart­ment build­ings in the 400 block of North He­liotrope Drive, Bast­man said.

The build­ings were “just past the fram­ing stage” of con­struc­tion and were un­oc­cu­pied, but the fire dam­aged a one-story home and a nearby apart­ment build­ing, dis­plac­ing 10 adults and 10 chil­dren, Bast­man said.

Tele­vi­sion news video showed flames shoot­ing from the apart­ment build­ings’ roofs and a col­umn of black smoke in the air.

The top two sto­ries of one build­ing were com­pletely charred.

The fire was knocked down by 107 fire­fight­ers in 42 min­utes, Bast­man said.

One fire­fighter was taken to a hospi­tal af­ter she sus­tained mi­nor in­juries but was in “good con­di­tion,” Bast­man said.

There were no other re­ported in­juries.

Scott, the de­part­ment spokesman, told KTLA-TV Chan­nel 5 that the fire burned so hot that it blew out win­dows in an ad­ja­cent apart­ment build­ing.

Fire­fight­ers were eval­u­at­ing dam­age to nearby build­ings, he said.

Ar­son in­ves­ti­ga­tors were on hand Mon­day morn­ing. It’s un­clear how the blaze be­gan or what ev­i­dence led to Gar­cia’s ar­rest.

The fire re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Bast­man said.

Pho­to­graphs by Al Seib Los An­ge­les Times

PO­LICE AR­REST a sus­pect in con­nec­tion with a fire that dam­aged two apart­ment build­ings un­der con­struc­tion Mon­day in East Hol­ly­wood. It was re­ported about 6 a.m. in the 400 block of North He­liotrope Drive.

HEAT FROM the blaze was so in­tense that it blew out the win­dows of an ad­ja­cent build­ing, officials said.

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