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L.A. arson fires now top 55; 'person of interest' held

January 2, 2012 |  5:14 am

Map shows locations of fires possibly linked to recent arson spree. Click through for more information.

A total of 55 "fires of concern" have broken out in the Los Angeles area since Friday, possibly the work of one arsonist, a fire official said early Monday.

Of the fires, 45 occurred in the Los Angeles area, another nine were in West Hollywood, and one was in Burbank, Erik Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, wrote in a post on LAFD Alert, the department's blog.

MAP: Arson fires

The post comes as Los Angeles fire and police officials confirm that they have detained and are questioning a "person of interest" in the spate of arson cases.

However, in a blog statement, Scott said that "it is too early to speculate if this person responsible for the spree of arson fires."

The detention follows a night of frenzied arson fires across the Hollywood area. Nine fires were reported in less than two hours, beginning at 1:30 a.m. Most involved cars and carports in apartment complexes, fire officials said.

PHOTOS: Arson fires

It was unclear early Monday if the fires were connected to the spate of arsons in the Hollywood area.

Officials said Sunday that they have linked at least 39 fires to the series of arsons that began Friday morning in Hollywood. At a news conference Sunday morning, officials said many of the fires have been started in cars and in some cases spread to carports, garages and apartments.

They declined to say what evidence tied the cases together or to give more information about how the fires were set. Law enforcement sources told The Times that detectives were concerned that releasing more information could prompt the arsonist or arsonists to change tactics and could encourage copycats.

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 -- Sam Quinones
twitter.com/samquinones7

Map: Shows locations of fires possibly linked to recent arson spree. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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