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Suspect arrested in connection with deadly Pasadena fire, explosion

November 2, 2012 | 11:22 am

 Pasadena firefighters on Thursday investigate the cause of a fire that killed two at what appeared to be a rooming facility. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Pasadena police on Friday arrested a man in connection with a fire and explosion that killed two men and critically wounded another at a Pasadena residence, according to the Pasadena Fire Department.

Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said the investigation "led to an intentionally set fire that pointed to one individual. An arrest was made this morning."

Derderian said she could not release further details because the investigation is ongoing, the Pasadena Sun reported.

On Thursday at 2:15 a.m., an explosion at a residence in the 1300 block of El Sereno Avenue caused a fire that killed two, critically injured one and forced 16 men to evacuate.

The residence appeared to be used a rooming facility, though Derderian said it was not licensed by the state and is zoned for single-family residential use.

Several residents said they paid monthly rents of $425 to $550 for personal rooms on the property, and one said some tenants had been referred to the location by homeless advocates.

Two evacuees who declined to give their last names said the fire and possible explosion came from the downstairs apartment of a man who had left the home shortly before the blaze and whose whereabouts remained unknown. The man had kept a cluttered apartment that a property supervisor had ordered to be cleaned, according to the residents.

A man who identified himself as Leo, who lived in the upper floor of the building, said he heard the explosion but thought it was someone falling in the corridor. Then he heard the smoke alarm.

"I open the door, and with the smoke I saw out there I slammed the door back closed," the 70-year-old said.

He said he then removed the air-conditioning unit from his window and traversed the sloping roof of the property to get out.

Bill, who walks with the assistance of a cane, said he slid down an interior staircase at the rear of the structure to avoid smoke and escape the building.

The owner of the home, Jeanette Broussard of Altadena, has previously clashed with city officials over zoning problems and a fire at another Pasadena property.

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-- Bill Kisliuk and Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

Photo: Pasadena firefighters on Thursday investigate the cause of a fire that killed two at what appeared to be a rooming facility. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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