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Arsonist set 3 Hollywood fires 15 minutes apart, police say

December 29, 2011 |  8:25 am

Hollywood arson
An arson suspect has been arrested in Hollywood after allegedly setting three fires that caused massive property damage early Thursday morning.

Samuel Arrington, 22, of Sunland, is charged with arson for torching a vehicle and setting rubbish on fire. The fires were set 15 minutes apart from one another along a five-block stretch of Sunset Boulevard, authorities said.

It is estimated that the fires caused more than $100,000 in property damage, said Captain Jaime Moore, a public information officer for the Los Angeles Fire Department. An elderly male was treated for smoke inhalation.

The first blaze took place at 1:12 a.m. on Poinsettia Place and Sunset Boulevard, where a dumpster was set on fire.

Around the same time, firefighters received a call about a car fire in the carport attached to an apartment building at 1434 N. Fuller Ave. Firefighters rushed to rescue the 20 occupants who lived inside the 10-unit apartment complex. A 73-year-old male was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

Four vehicles were destroyed in the front of the building. As the flames rose from the carport to the building itself, it damaged at least two apartment units.

In the third blaze, the suspect set a trash can on fire at Sunset Boulevard and Sycamore Avenue before a witness apprehended him.

The witness, Pedro Mejia, was cleaning the sidewalk with a pressure washer when he encountered the suspect.

"I saw him turn the trash can on fire," Mejia told KTLA News. "After that, he walked toward my equipment and tried to set it on fire."

Arrington was trying to ignite two fuel tanks attached to Mejia's pressure washer. Mejia said the fuel tanks on the washer contain 30 gallons of diesel. "I ran over there and chased him away."

Mejia detained Arrington and flagged down passing police. The LAFD's arson unit is investigating the crime. No motive has been determined, but it is suspected that Arrington may have been under the influence of a controlled substance, Moore said.

"He could have done a lot more damage," he said.


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Photo: A man was arrested on suspicion of setting three fires in Hollywood. Credit: KTLA-TV