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16 new arson fires set in L.A.; police consider multiple suspects

December 31, 2011 |  7:45 am

Police officials reported at least 16 new arson fires early Saturday in Los Angeles, bringing the number of fires intentionally set in the city in the last two days to more than 35.

Eight of the fires occurred in North Hollywood, three in the foothill area of the San Fernando Valley, three in the Wilshire Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, one on the Westside and one in Lennox.

Officials said they are not sure if they dealing with multiple arson suspects or if some of the fires were the work of copycats. One law enforcement source told The Times that detectives are considering that more than one arsonist is involved.

Photos: Hollywood arson fires

The latest blazes come on top of a series of arson fires that occurred Friday morning. In that string of blazes, 21 fires were set in Hollywood and West Hollywood, making it one of the worst arson rampages in Los Angeles in recent history.

Among the properties damaged was the Hollywood Hills home where The Doors' Jim Morrison once lived. The home inspired Morrison's song "Love Street."

Friday night's fires left L.A.-area residents on edge and investigators perplexed as they began the painstaking search for clues on who had set the fires and why.

Nearly all of the fires started with a vehicle being set ablaze. Several times, however, the flames jumped to nearby apartment buildings or houses, causing significant damage at some of the locations.

Estimates on the total cost of the damage were not available, although officials from the Los Angeles County Fire Department said that four fires set in West Hollywood alone destroyed about $350,000 worth of cars and property.

One firefighter suffered back and neck injuries and was taken to a hospital. His condition was not thought to be serious.

Investigators and experts said the fires were highly unusual for even a serial arsonist because of the sheer number of fires in a relatively short period of time. Officials have not said how the fires were set.


Ruin, wreckage at Jim Morrison's former home

Officials seek tips after string of blazes

Photos: Hollywood arson fires

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Plumber Uri Oren works to clear a drain after an arson fire in the carport of an apartment building on Harper Avenue in West Hollywood Friday.  Credit: Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times.