Fight Continues Against Los Angeles Arson Fires

Sunday, January 01, 2012 |

LOS ANGELES - As of 8:00 AM on January 1st, 2012, 39 fires of concern have broke out in the Los Angeles area over the last three days. The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) responded to over 3300 calls in the past 72 hours and had a 17% increase in emergencies. This is in addition to the previously mentioned arson fires on December 29th, 2011, where two individuals were arrested.

LAFD Arson Fires in San Fernando Valley
At 12:23 AM, on the morning of Friday, December 30th, a series of incendiary fires began in Hollywood. By daybreak, a total of 12 fires had been confirmed in the Hollywood area, and four fires in the city of West Hollywood. These 16 intentionally set fires were located in carports under apartment buildings or near single family dwellings in Hollywood. Firefighters worked tirelessly through a long and busy night extinguishing the flames. Fortunately, no civilians were injured. However, one firefighter sustained a non-life-threatening injury, and was transported to a local hospital in Fair condition. He was later released.

A Joint Task Force was formed between the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, LA County Sheriff's, and members of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to investigate these fires and to apprehend the suspect or suspects responsible for these heinous acts.

The LAFD handled 16 fires by the morning of December 31st that met our criteria of concern. These fires predominantly involved vehicles, many in carports or in close proximity of a structure. Most of these fires were located in the North Hollywood area and the Fairfax District.

These were very dangerous fires that pose a serious concern to the community. Fortunately, no civilians were injured.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department initially reported one fire meeting the criteria in the Lennox area, however after a thorough investigation of the scene, it was determined that this fire was not related to these series of fires.

On New Year's morning the Los Angeles Fire Department reported five incidents related to this series of fires. One incident involved a vehicle fire in a carport that extended into the structure. Another fire was confined to the vehicle and was controlled prior to extending into the structure. The three additional incidents were reported as "Fire Outs," meaning that the fire was out prior to Fire Department arrival.

Los Angeles County Fire Department reported two incidents in the city of West Hollywood. One of the two incidents involved several vehicles in a carport and through joint firefighting efforts between the County and City firefighters was confined to the autos and the carport.

Therefore, as of January 1st, the city of Los Angeles an the city of West Hollywood have experienced a total of 39 incidents that meet the criteria in this series of incendiary fires.
LAFD Arson Fires in San Fernando ValleyLAFD Arson Investigators are working around the clock and are currently reviewing evidence, mapping out the sequence of the fires that occurred, interviewing witnesses, and canvassing the fire scenes as part of this active investigation. Our friends in law enforcement are in full force with officers on ground and in the air. Hundreds of clues are being followed up on a continual basis and all evidence is being examined to put the person or persons responsible in jail.

A combination of rewards in the sum of $60,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons responsible for these dangerous fires. Auto fires burn hot and fast and contain fuels, plastic, and combustible gases that can rapidly spread and flash over.
We are asking the public to assist. If you see a crime in progress, do not engage, immediately dial 9-1-1. Anyone with information that may assist in these active investigations is asked to call (800) 222- TIPS (8477).

Your Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers would like to thank the community and media for their continual support. We are urging all to remain vigilant.

Precautionary measures can be taken by:
  • Leaving on porch lights and the lights around your carports.
  • Insure your vehicles are locked.
  • Insure your smoke alarms work.
  • Have a family emergency plan and discuss it with your family.
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • Report any suspicious activity and finally...,
“If you see something, say something”.

We want citizens be assured that there is no lack of services in the community. Your firefighters will continue to put their lives on the line and provide the best level of service that is expected and deserved on every fire and medical incident. LAFD is honored to serve the public in the second largest city in the country. We hope you view your neighborhood fire stations as a public safety hub for the community and the LAFD as a premier all risk fire department in the world that will be by your side within five minutes of an emergency.

UPDATE: As of 5AM on 01/02/12, a total of 52 fires of concern have broke out in the Los Angeles area over the last four days from 12/30/11 to 01/02/12.

Media can contact the Joint Information Center at (213) 484-4873 for updated information.

Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

Great work on part of the LAFD that no one was hurt or killed. Incredible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all the agencies involved in protecting lives & properties. It's just a real shame that these people think starting fires is fun or a joke. It would be nice if the suspect or suspects would be caught by citizens instead of law enforcement. That will also safe tax payer money. These people get caught and an attorney will convince the State that they are insane and walk away.

Anonymous said...

When these fires occured in parked vehicles, were these in all non gated parking structures/ apartments?

Near West Hollywood said...

In serial arsonist cases, a real time map (constantly updated with location of incidents) would have been very helpful. I only found out a day later that someone had set three fires one-quarter mile away. I realize this would take manpower to set up, but there may be another database that the LAFD could piggyback on or coordinate information with? Thanks for considering.

Great job overall.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

@Anonymous 3:45,

The presence and functionality of security systems such as gates is often something chronicled by Investigators. Our LAFD media and public relations staff (rightfully) does not have access to the 50+ active files of the Investigation Teams at this time.

@Near West Hollywood,

The Investigators did not allow us to display such a map at our site.

While we're a seemingly robust agency, in this austere time, there is only one person on duty at any given time at the LAFD Emergency Public Information (EPI) Center. Along with handling notifications, hundreds of phone calls and emails each day, they maintain the blog and dozens of LAFD social media sites. If enhancements becomes possible and approved in the future, we'd be thrilled to offer what you suggest.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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