Man arrested for fatal fire in Pasadena group home


Garth Allen Robbins, 49, was taken into custody at 5:42 a.m. Friday at a Pasadena restaurant. He was booked into the Pasadena City Jail on charges of arson and murder. He is being held without bail.

The fire broke out just after 2 a.m. on the 1300 block of El Sereno Avenue. By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, at least 16 residents were already outside of the home. When fire crews went inside, they found the bodies of two men: a man in his 70s and a man in his 50s. A 65-year-old man was hospitalized in serious condition.

Word of Friday's arrest spread quickly. People who live in the home were stunned to learn the person in custody was a fellow tenant.

"I thought he had peculiar ways," said resident Leonardo de Vlugt.

Residents say Robbins lived in the front room of the building. Police say they found evidence Robbins set the fire in his room. Even though residents are saying Robbins set off a bomb, investigators aren't saying if an explosive started the fire.

"The fire appeared suspicious in nature. The arson investigators eventually led us to the room of a suspect that we arrested this morning and it looked like that was the origin of the fire," said Pasadena Lt. Diego Torres.

On Thursday, the building manager told Eyewitness News that residents heard an explosion.

"They say someone set off a bomb in the front and from there it just went up in flames," said group home manager Josh Broussard. He had no comment Friday after learning the suspect was a resident.

Pamela Clark, however, is talking. She says her husband, Cliff Clark, was one of the victims, and she was hoping to get some answers.

"I'm glad they arrested somebody because I was going to stay on it, and I wanted whoever did it to come to justice, I want it done," she said.

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