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Da Vinci Fire Suspect Caught Carrying Fuel On Video, Official Says

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The day after the fire (Photo by Eugene Lee/LAist)
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An LAFD official said that investigators now have video of a suspect in the huge downtown Los Angeles fire that destroyed the partially built Da Vinci apartments near the 110 Freeway. Last week, Battalion Chief Steve Ruda of the L.A. Fire Department told a group of about 20 members of Echo Park's neighborhood council about some new developments in the ongoing investigation, the L.A. Times reports. While a suspect has yet to be arrested, Ruda said they have surveillance footage that causes them to believe that the suspect parked his car on the 110 Freeway, then walked into the unfinished building carrying cans of fuel. After lighting the blaze, he fled. Ruda's statements were recorded by an audience member.

Peter Sanders, an LAFD spokesman, said via an emailed statement to the Times that he couldn't verify or deny Ruda's claim. "To protect the integrity of the investigation, we cannot at this time discuss details of the evidence collected thus far," he said.

The December 8 fire destroyed a huge part of the controversial, unfinished Geoffrey Palmer development, shut down part of the 110 Freeway and took 250 firefighters to put out. Investigators determined arson to be the cause of the fire several days later, after looking through 75,000 square feet of ruins and sending some evidence to the ATF's National Laboratory. They also interviewed several neighbors and brought in an expert accelerant sniffing dog named Major.

There is currently a $170,000 reward up for grabs for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the fire.

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Related: Photos: The Ruins Of The Epic Inferno That Took Out Downtown's Least Favorite Development