Arson Cause of Downtown Apartment Complex Fire: Officials | NBC Southern California

Arson Cause of Downtown Apartment Complex Fire: Officials

Investigators say they found sufficient evidence to suggest the fire was intentionally set and not accidental



    Police are trying to find two people who may have witnessed a fire at an apartment complex that was under construction in downtown Los Angeles. Melissa Etezadi reports for Today in LA on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 (Published Friday, Dec. 19, 2014)

    Last week's massive downtown LA fire at an apartment complex that was under construction was an act of arson, authorities said Thursday.

    Investigators said they recovered an accelerant, pointing to arson. The fire on Dec. 8 at 900 West Temple Street destroyed a seven-story complex under construction, damaged a nearby high-rise structures and the Harbor (110) Freeway.

    Flames billowed into the air, making smoke visible for miles and radiating enough heat to shatter the windows of nearby office towers.

    The blaze caused up to $30 million in damage to the DaVinci Apartments. Total damage estimates to nearby businesses and Caltrans property remain undetermined.

    Arson Cause of DTLA Fire

    [LA] Arson Cause of DTLA Fire
    The massive fire that burned up an apartment complex that was under construction was set intentionally, fire officials said. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. (Published Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014)

    Local and federal Investigators sifted through 75,000 square feet of debris, took photographs, recovered potential evidence from the scene for analysis by the ATF's National Laboratory and conducted many interviews throughout the community.

    The team finished combing through the debris on Wednesday, and will continue to follow up on the case to identify the culprit or culprits.

    "The work at the crime scene is finished, however our investigation is not over," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Carlos A. Canino. "ATF will continue to work together with our state and local partners to investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice."

    Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Nelson, who heads the agency's arson/counter-terrorism section, said the department will continue to work with the ATF, the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies to "vigorously pursue this investigation.

    "Arson is a serious crime," he said in a news release. "We will use all of our available resources to arrest and prosecute any individuals involved in any arson fire in Los Angeles."

    Investigators continue to seek information on two potential witnesses seen in video footage taken the morning of Dec. 8.

    They are not considered suspects nor persons of interest. Investigators have identified them as being in the area of the fire, and want to interview them.

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment:iPhone/iPad App | Facebook| Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Email Alerts