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Los Angeles arson fires char holiday spirit

December 31, 2011 | 11:46 am

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

As a citywide arson rampage entered its second day and authorities searched the ashes for clues, one victim wondered aloud Saturday about the culprit's motives. 

Publicist Josh Mills woke up shortly before 2 a.m. to hear a pounding on his front door in Valley Village. A man walking a dog told him that his 2000 BMW 323I, parked on Irvine Avenue, was on fire.

Mills, 43, said he went outside in his pajamas and saw that a fire had been set underneath his car's engine. "It all happened so fast," he said. "It wasn't like I could collect my thoughts."

"Within a minute, the tires were blowing up and it was fully engulfed."

"It could have been a lot worse. The trees" above the car "could have caught fire, and the house. This is just a car. But it feels like a complete violation."

On the person who did it:

"It's the holiday season, goodwill toward men, and here's somebody who's definitely not understanding that."

While firefighters were outside his home, Mills could hear that other firefighters were responding to a blaze on nearby Colfax Avenue, then one in Sunland.

[For the record, 4:22 p.m., Dec. 31: An earlier version of this post said the fire occurred in North Hollywood.]


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L.A. fires likely set by more than one arsonist, police believe

-- David Zahniser

Photo: Charred BMW in Valley Village. Credit: David Zahniser / Los Angeles Times