String of arsons in Los Angeles continues


A passerby inspects damaged cars following an overnight fire started by a suspected serial arsonist in Hollywood, California. 35 fires have been reported in the past two days.


Frederic J. Brown

A string of 35 fires set in Los Angeles in the past two days has police wondering if they're dealing with one arsonist or several.

The Los Angeles Times reported that 21 fires had been set throughout Hollywood as of Friday morning, and 16 more fires were reported as of Saturday morning, in a much larger area.

Most of the blazes were started in vehicles, but several fires have spread to buildings and houses. The Doors singer Jim Morrison's former Hollywood Hills home was one of the residences damaged by the fires. 

As the Times reported, 

Law enforcement sources told The Times that it would be difficult — but not impossible — for one person to set all those fires. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was open, said it's possible there is more than one arsonist or that some fires are the work of copycats. One source said a single arsonist would have to be a "superman" to have set all the blazes Saturday morning.

A 22 year-old man was charged with starting three fires on Thursday, and another suspect is also in custody. Both were behind bars Friday night when new fires were reported, according to the Times. 

Officials are calling the series of blazes the worst arson rampage in recent Los Angeles history.

Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said that four of the West Hollywood fires destroyed about $350,000 worth of vehicles and property, the Times reported. Estimates of the total costs of the damage were not available.

Los Angeles city officials, along with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, have posted a reward of $60,000 for any information leading to the arrest of those responsible, AFP reported. 

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