LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A $170,000 reward was announced on Wednesday as officials ramp up their investigation surrounding the fire that destroyed the $25 million Da Vinci apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles in December.
Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar introduced a motion to offer $75,000 on Tuesday, which will be put up by the city. In addition, the property developer matched that amount with another $75,000, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives added another $20,000 - leading to a sum of $170,000.
Authorities hope this huge reward lead to the suspects responsible.
"The reckless work of the individual or individuals responsible for the Da Vinci fire exposed more than 250 firefighters to great personal injury while fighting an extremely hot and massive fire that stretched an entire city block and caused significant damage to two adjacent high-rise buildings," said Los Angeles City Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas.
Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been gathering surveillance video from throughout the area as the investigation continues. They still want to talk to the people seen walking near the area just around the time the fire started.
The probe indicates that the massive blaze started in the center part of the building. That source point hampered firefighters' efforts since water from their hose streams could not reach that far inside the structure. Investigators say they had to move tons of debris using shovels and wheelbarrows just to get to the spot where the fire started.
Officials said an accelerant was used, causing the flames to spread quickly across nearly an entire block. The intense flames shot up several hundred feet into the air and could be seen for miles.
"It's not only about damage that was caused to property. But if an individual is willing to put property at danger, there are lives at danger as well," Huizar said.
The fire, which was later deemed arson, caused between $25 million to $30 million in damage.
"Arson is a crime that the Los Angeles Fire Department and our law enforcement partners take very seriously. If you commit an act of arson in the city of Los Angeles, we will find you. We will arrest you," Terrazas said.