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Arson suspected in series of North Hollywood fires [Updated]

July 24, 2011 | 11:15 am

Los Angeles fire officials are investigating possible arson in a string of more than 10 suspicious fires over the weekend in North Hollywood.

The fires were set mostly to cars in the early morning, between 2 and 4:30 a.m., said Matt Spence, public service officer for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Fire officials responded to as many as 10 fires Sunday morning, with several others under investigation, Spence said.

It was not immediately clear if an apartment fire Sunday morning that sent two people to the hospital for smoke inhalation was related to the other blazes, Spence said. That fire was reported at 6:32 a.m. at a two-story apartment complex on North Simpson Avenue. Arriving firefighters extinguished the blaze soon after.

[Updated, 8 p.m.: Authorities said there have been at least a dozen –- and as many as 18 -– fires that may be related to the string of blazes in the North Hollywood area.

Spence said the first fire was in the early morning hours of July 21 and that the department is "being careful in saying it’s an arsonist" and instead are "investigating a series of suspicious fires."

He said most of the fires have involved vehicles in carports that extended into some of the attached structures.]

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-- Paloma Esquivel and Ari Bloomekatz

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