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String of car fires put Los Angeles police on alert

(Xinhua)

08:50, December 31, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- A total of 19 apparent arsons which damaged cars parked in West Hollywood and Hollywood overnight Friday had put Los Angeles city police on tactical alert, with authorities calling for members of public to come forward with information leading to the arrest of the suspect or his/her accomplices.

All the fires, four in West Hollywood and 15 in Hollywood, took place in west Los Angeles just after midnight, according to police.

The first fire was reported at 1:18 a.m. in a vehicle before spreading to the exterior of the home at 8021 Tothdell Trail in the Hollywood Hills. Fifty-six firemen put out the fire in 35 minutes, Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

"This is an arsonist working," LAFD Chief Mario Rueda said at a news conference held on Friday morning.

"We had four fires of suspicious nature," said Lt. William Nash of the Los Angeles County's Sheriff Department's West Hollywood Station, referring to fires in the area. "At one point we had three vehicle fires reported within 11 minutes."

Other fires were started in cars or car ports where a number of cars were damaged.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) declared a citywide tactical alert around 4:20 a.m., mobilizing more resources. It was canceled at 6:35 a.m.

Reinforcements from units in the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles County Fire Department were sent in response to the fires, authorities said.

Two suspects including 22-year-old Samuel Arrignton of Sunland were arrested in connection with three fires that occurred on a five-block stretch of Sunset Boulevard on Thursday morning, according to LAFD officials.

Authorities are not sure if the fires on Friday are the work of a copycat connected to the earlier set of fires. They also have no idea if all the incidents were related or if they were the work of one suspect or multiple suspects.

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