Huge Reward for Information on L.A. Fire

L.A. apartment complex fire

Photo courtesy of SPW/Splash News

Huge Reward for Information on L.A. Fire
| published January 22, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff


Fire Department Officials and city investigators say it was one of the worst fires in Los Angeles history, with damage in excess of $25 million. And the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives say that their investigation shows it was deliberately set—making it one of the worst cases of arson in American history.

Now, a combination of agencies are joining forces to find the person who set the blaze, and they are offering a unprecedented $170,000 reward to anyone who offers information which leads to an arrest in the case.

The fire began on the night of December 8, 2014, inside a high-rise apartment complex which was under construction. The project had just reached the phase which involved massive amounts of wooden paneling and wooden interior and exterior materials, which meant that in the dry conditions found in southern California at the time, the unfinished apartment building burned easily and quickly.

The fires were so intense that the inferno prevented the fire department from moving close enough to gain an effective foothold, and the heat caused windows in adjacent neighborhoods to crack or shatter, bent metal beams and pipes, set off secondary explosions in areas hundreds of feet away, and even caused permanent structural damage to the concrete and steel of a nearby overpass. The fires also caused significant damage to adjacent high rise office buildings and businesses.

The flames were so bright and so intense above the seven story structure that Los Angeles residents could see the fire even miles away. The fire required fully one third of all full-time and part-time personnel of the Los Angeles Fire Department, as well as hundreds of police, rescue and engineering employees.

Amazingly, the intense and violent blaze caused no serious injuries and no deaths. But now the city, county, Federal government and the developer want to find the person who ignited that inferno, and they are willing to pay handsomely for the information.

The announcement came this week in front of City Hall, where public officials explained that each of several agencies would be kicking-in a share of the reward money. All the funds are readily available except that of the city itself, which must formally vote on the issue at its next regularly-scheduled meeting this week. The City Council is expected to pass a resolution agreeing to participate.

Carlos Canino, who represents the ATF in Los Angeles, told reporters that as far as he knows, the $170,000 is the largest reward ever offered for such a crime.

The fire took place at the unfinished Da Vinci apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles; the Da Vinci is intended to be a luxury apartment facility at 909 West Temple Street, near where the 110 Harbor Freeway intersects the 101 Freeway. According to the developer’s website, part of the project will open on schedule early this year, but Building B, which was the portion destroyed by fire, will be delayed indefinitely.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Mayors Do It Better; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; January 4, 2014.