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El Segundo arsonist caught on video

Surveillance video caught a woman starting a fire in El Segundo who police believe may be linked to several acts of arson in the area.
Surveillance video caught a woman starting a fire in El Segundo. Police believe she may be linked to several acts of arson in the area.

In the video from a Main Street business, the woman walks around smoking a cigarette, before making her way over to patio furniture. She bends down and uses a lighter to ignite an umbrella. Seconds later, the umbrella goes up in flames.

El Segundo police said Good Samaritans put out the flames.

Seven arson fires have been reported on the Main Street area since the end of July, police said.

On Wednesday, Father Alexei Smith was in a prayer service at St. Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church with three other people when they heard a clicking sound.

"That clicking sound turned into a crackling sound. I have no sense of smell, but the other people could smell smoke," Smith said.

They quickly realized that someone had set a garment hanging on a wooden door on fire.

"I ran into the altar area... and I could see the flames and feel the intense heat. I yelled for people to get out and called the fire department," Smith said.

No one was hurt in that incident.

On Sunday, someone set fire to leaflets at St. Michael's Episcopal Church while people were inside. Neighbors witnessed the commotion.

"The pastor was outside putting papers on the ground. She was pouring water on them. There was a lot of smoke inside," neighbor Marian Holman said.

Police said the suspected arsonist is a woman between 55 and 65.

"They've been relatively small fires, but what we're worried is that this person could potentially light a building on fire and someone could get hurt or killed," El Segundo Police Sgt. Hugo Perez said.

Anyone with information is asked to call El Segundo police at (310) 524-2200.

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