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String of Overnight Arson Fires Put LAPD on Tactical Alert

Photo by Chris Yarzab via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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A string of fires that broke out overnight, mostly cars parked in carports in Hollywood and West Hollywood, had the Los Angeles Police Department on tactical alert as emergency personnel worked to put out the suspicious blazes. Officials believe it is the work of an arsonist.

A total of 19 fires were reported in what authorities suspect is a string. Four of the fires were in West Hollywood, where the first was reported at 12:23 a.m. and the last at 2:09 a.m., according to City News Service. Those fires were at 7762 Romaine St., 1047 Genesee Ave., 1200 Curson Ave. and 1226 Harper Ave. "At one point we had three vehicle fires reported within 11 minutes,'' said Lt. William Nash of the Los Angeles County's Sheriff Department's West Hollywood Station.

In the city of L.A., there were 15 fires, including one at the onetime home of Doors rocker Jim Morrison, at 8021 Rothdell Trail in the Hollywood Hills. That particular fire began in a vehicle and spread to the home's exterior and balcony; a Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter was injured taking down the Rothdell blaze, which ultimately took 56 firefighters 35 minutes to extinguish, according to the LAFD's Brian Humphrey.

Four cars were set on fire in the 1100 block of N. Cahuenga Blvd, and that fire spread to a building at 1156 N. Cahuenga. A vehicle fire also was reported at 4:03 a.m. at 1439 N. Poinsettia Place and threatened nearby apartments for a time, Humphrey told the media.

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Other fires were logged in the 1700 block of Orange Drive, at Hollywood Boulevard and Bronson Avenue, in the 1800 block of Vine Street, the 1200 block of McCadden Place and the 1300 block of Citrus Avenue.

In response to the series of fires, the LAPD went on tactical alert in the wee hours of this morning. This permits the department to hold officers on shift. "The Los Angeles Fire Department doubled the number of arson teams on call to four after firefighters scrambled overnight to put out the fires," notes L.A. Now.

This morning at a press conference, the LAPD say they are asking anyone with information about the fires or the suspect or suspects to come forward. They are canvassing the neighborhoods where the fires were set to see if locals have any idea who may have set the blazes.

"The latest fires come a day after police arrested Samuel Arrington, 22, of Sunland in connection with three arsons that occurred on a five-block stretch of Sunset Boulevard on Thursday morning," notes L.A. Now. It is not clear if the overnight fires were set by a copycat, or if Arrington was the wrong suspect.