Man arrested for massive LA blaze

2015-05-28 14:07
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, second from left, surrounded by city authorities, comments on the arrest by the Los Angeles Police Department's anti-terrorism division of a suspect on suspicion of arson, during a news conference in downtown Los Ange

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, second from left, surrounded by city authorities, comments on the arrest by the Los Angeles Police Department's anti-terrorism division of a suspect on suspicion of arson, during a news conference in downtown Los Ange

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Los Angeles - A man has been arrested on suspicion of starting a massive inferno that destroyed an unfinished apartment building and damaged adjacent office towers in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.

Dawud Abdulwali, aged 56, of Los Angeles, whose name may be an alias, was arrested on Tuesday on a traffic warrant and only later was booked on suspicion of aggravated arson and arson of a structure, fire officials said.

He was being held on more than $1m bail and was expected to be charged on Thursday.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said the fire caused $20m to $30m in damage to the building site and another $50m to $60m to a city-owned building nearby.

Abdulwali was renting a room in South Los Angeles last year, his landlord, Poleth Chavez, told the Los Angeles Times. In December, around the time of the fire, he paid two months' rent up front and left, saying he was heading to San Francisco.

The December 8 fire gutted the 121 000 square meters Da Vinci complex that was in the wood-framing stage, sending up flames that could be seen from miles away.

The fire's heat cracked or shattered hundreds of windows in neighboring buildings, ignited small fires in one, and damaged an adjacent freeway.

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