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LAFD Investigating String of Vehicle and Trash Fires in Echo Park

The first of the four suspected blazes in a string of fires was reported on Feb. 19.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Los Angeles arson investigators said today they are looking into a string of possibly deliberately set vehicle and trash fires in and around the Echo Park area over the past week.

The first of four suspected arson blazes was reported Feb. 19, between midnight and 4 a.m., in the 1300 block of North Portia Street, Los Angeles Fire Department Senior Arson Investigator David Liske said.

Three city trash cans were found ablaze, damaging a nearby car, he said.

In a second fire later that morning, another trash can was set ablaze at Sunset Boulevard and McDuff Street, according to Liske.

Fire officials are also looking into a vehicle fire reported Tuesday around 2 a.m. in the 1400 block of Portia Street, near Galveston Street, he said.

Authorities suspect attempted arson of another car the same day. A pile of leaves was found on the car parked at Laveta Terrace and Sunset Boulevard, LAFD Battalion Chief Steve Ruda said.

"It's hard to say for sure" if the cases are linked, he said, adding that the LAFD is conducting an "active and aggressive" investigation into the fires.

"Sometimes, arsonists begin small," Ruda said. "Hopefully each fire doesn't get bigger."

Liske noted that a car fire reported at 1:43 this morning in the 1400 block of West Morton Avenue, near Academy Road, appears unrelated to the suspected arson blazes. That car was believed to have been stolen, he added.

Anyone with information about the suspected arson fires was urged to contact the department's Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section at (213) 893-9850.

—City News Service

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