A man was questioned early Thursday in connection with a series of arson fires along a one-mile stretch of Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley Wednesday night that threatened homes and businesses on the popular thoroughfare.
The fires began at about 8:40 p.m. when someone lit six trash can fires in Sherman Oaks along Ventura Boulevard between Coldwater Canyon and Sunnyslope avenues, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.
One of the fires reached a business and a two-story apartment building near 13912 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks (map). Smoke could be seen pouring out of the roof as firefighters were battling the flames.
The arson fires caused at least $20,000 in damage to the structures, LAFD officials said.
A man described by police as a transient who frequented the area was taken in for questioning before 1 a.m. Thursday, according to a watch commander at the Los Angeles Police Department Van Nuys Station. Police described the individual as a "person of interest" and did not identify him as a suspect.
The man was booked on a parole violation and remains in custody. Details regarding his criminal record were not immediately available, but police said the parole violation was not related to an arson case.
Several witnesses provided descriptions of the subject to investigatotrs.
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"There were different suspect descriptions that were put out, and part of our job ultimately at the end of the evening was to try and put that information together, which we believe we did," said arson investigator David Liske, adding that the arson reports stopped after the man was taken into custody. "The fire activity stopped, whether that's coincidental or not. Right now, this is the best information that we have to work with so we'll start with that and see where we end up."
Surveillance cameras are located near one of the largest fires, according to arson investigators.
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