City News Service

Man Arrested After String of Suspected Arson Fires in Monrovia

Monrovia police investigating a series of four fires in the city within a 26-hour period arrested a man Thursday on suspicion of setting one of the blazes, which destroyed a book swap kiosk.

The suspect was identified as 25-year-old Ryan Dhalliwal of Monrovia, who was booked on suspicion of one count of arson involving the fire that destroyed the "little free library" on Wednesday, according to the Monrovia Police Department.

He was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to sheriff's inmate records. The latest of the four blazes occurred early this morning and left a man suffering from smoke inhalation and a cat dead.

Firefighters were sent to the 800 block of West Walnut Avenue at 2:37 a.m. to extinguish the fire that damaged the single-story house.

Prior to the announcement of Dhjalliwal's arrest, Monrovia police Chief Alan Sanvictores had said a person of interest in the series of fires had been taken into custody for questioning.

"Different evidence that is collected in the early stages of this investigation led us to this individual," Sanvictores said.

About 12:35 a.m. Wednesday, a fire destroyed a house in the 700 block of West Colorado Boulevard, but no one was injured. Some neighbors were forced to evacuate, and firefighters had to retreat when the house collapsed as they were pouring water on it. Shortly before Wednesday's house fire, the two other suspicious blazes were reported in the city, one in some bushes and another at the library kiosk.

All four fires collectively caused damage in excess of $1 million, authorities said. The fires were being investigated by various fire agencies, along with personnel from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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