Los Angeles firefighters received a report of a fire at an apartment complex near Kingsley Avenue and Mills Road around 12:45 a.m. Sunday. As crews rushed to the scene, they discovered several other fires burning in the area.
Dumpsters and other parked cars were torched. Firefighters say someone intentionally lit a large trash bin on fire and threw it in a carport at the apartment complex.
Two other fires broke out at Indian Hill and Mills roads, and at McKinley and Garey avenues, destroying several cars.
Residents say at one carport, the fire started with a boat, then spread down the line of cars. Every time it hit one of the gas tanks, explosions were heard, residents said.
"We thought everything was on fire, like both carports," said Ernie Madrigal, whose car was damaged in one of the fires. "It almost hit the boilers, so that's what we were worried about, the whole thing blowing up."
"We're blessed the apartment didn't go off," said a witness who didn't want to be identified. "We would've lost everything we have."
Ten families live in the apartment building. Many of them are either hurting financially or are unemployed and searching for work. Now that their vehicles are ruined they don't know what they're going to do in regards to transportation.
Madrigal said he can't go anywhere with his taillights a melted mess.
"I barely get by as is," he said. "Now this is an extra expense. And it's not our fault."
Investigators are now searching for an arsonist or a group of people responsible for the fires. They're hoping someone saw the criminals in action or surveillance cameras caught the arsonists in the act.
Anyone with information was urged to call the Los Angeles County Fire Department Arson Unit at (626) 433-1011.