Man Arrested in Deadly South El Monte Tire Shop Fire

Sheriff's homicide detectives have arrested a 19-year-old man on suspicion of murder in connection with a deadly fire at an El Monte tire shop over the weekend, officials said.

Surveillance images helped detectives identify a vehicle that led them to Roberto Fuentes of Baldwin Park, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Monday. The car, a gold-colored 2003 Nissan Altima, was being held for evidence.

Firefighters on Saturday tried in vain to save a badly burned man from the burning tire shop in the 1200 block of North Santa Anita Avenue. The fire may have been started by Molotov cocktails, authorities said.

The burning man was trapped behind a locked industrial fence and trying to escape, but he was overcome by the flames before firefighters could break through to him, according to Los Angeles County Fire and sheriff's department officials.

Two other bodies were later found at the scene, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Two of the three victims were identified by sheriff's officials as El Monte resident Carlos Jimenez and Azusa resident Destiny Aguirre, both 18. The coroner was working to identity the third victim.

A firefighter suffered burns to his face during the rescue attempt.

Investigators determined that a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that was seen leaving the area at the time of the fire was unrelated to the incident, officials said.

Fuentes was arrested on suspicion of murder and booked at the Temple Sheriff's Station. He was being held on $1 million bail, officials said.

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