Arsonist Behind Panorama City Car Fires: Investigators

Fire investigators probe an early Friday morning fire that damaged at least three vehicles in Panorama City

By Jason Kandel
|  Friday, Jan 4, 2013  |  Updated 9:20 AM PDT
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Police Hunt for San Fernando Valley Serial Arsonist

Someone is believed to have started a fire that burned three cars in a carport under an apartment complex in Panorama City on Friday, Jan. 4, 2012.

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Police Hunt for San Fernando Valley Serial Arsonist

Police are hunting for a serial arsonist who's believed to have set at least 12 fires in the Chatsworth area. Most were started in trash dumpsters. Janet Kwak reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.
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Arson investigators were sifting on Friday through the debris from a fire that burned three cars to find out who might have started the blaze in a gated carport under an apartment complex in Panorama City.

The fire was reported at 3:52 a.m. at Tobias Avenue and Rayen Street, said a captain with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Nobody was hurt, but at least several people will begin the tedious process of contacting their insurance companies to try to recover their property loss.

Joel Hernandez said an explosion woke him up and that he felt his apartment unit rocking.

“It was shocking,” he said. “I thought it was an earthquake.”

He went outside to investigate and saw his 2006 Honda Civic in flames.

“I was shocked because my car, you know?”

It was unknown if the fire was connected to a series of arsons that occurred in October in Chatsworth. Fire officials this past weekend released a surveillance video from one of the cases that showed a man getting out of a car near a trash bin behind a restaurant and lighting a fire before driving off.

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