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Suspected arsonist arrested following Hollywood fires

December 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A 22-year-old Sunland man was arrested following a string of suspicious fires in Hollywood early Thursday morning.

Samuel Arrington, 22, was taken into custody and is being questioned about the fires that badly damaged an apartment building and several vehicles.

Just after 1 a.m. a blaze broke out at an underground parking lot of an apartment building on Fuller Avenue, just south of Sunset Boulevard. Firefighters say it was one of three arson fires set in a five-block area within 15 minutes of each other.

"Our investigators are interviewing the suspect right now, trying to determine how he went about setting the fires. We do know he was using ordinary combustibles in the vicinity," said L.A. City Fire Capt. Jamie Moore.

Lyubov Kamenetskaya's apartment was blackened by the fire, and her 73-year-old husband was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

"We were afraid. We couldn't see anything in the room because the room was full of smoke," she said.

Two units at the apartment building were damaged and four cars were destroyed in the fire.

While crews were fighting the garage blaze, another fire broke out at a Dumpster about a block away. And farther east on La Brea Avenue, a trash can at a 7-Eleven caught on fire.

Arrington was arrested after a worker outside a 7-Eleven near La Brea Avenue and Sunset Boulevard saw him trying to cause more damage.

"I saw him turn the trash can on fire, and after that he walked over to my equipment and tried to set it on fire," said Pedro Mejia, a street washer.

Mejia said he chased the alleged arsonist away from his equipment. The suspect was arrested at the 7-Eleven.

The damage at the apartment building is estimated at more than $100,000. Kamenestkaya said she can't understand why anyone would do this.

"I'm very happy that he was caught," she said. "And now he will get what he needs to get."

Authorities are investigating if Arrington is connected to other arson fires in the area.

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