National News

Man arrested in connection with Los Angeles apartment fire

Posted June 12

— A man was arrested Monday in connection with a fire that burned two apartment buildings under construction, damaged adjacent residential structures and displaced 20 people, Los Angeles fire officials said.

Benicio Garcia, 20, was arrested on suspicion of arson after the Monday morning blaze in the east Hollywood neighborhood, fire department spokeswoman Amy Bastman said.

The blaze, reported about 6 a.m. in the wood framing of buildings on the construction site, blew out windows in an apartment building on one side and damaged a single-family home on the other side. The American Red Cross was assisting 10 adults and 10 children displaced by the fire.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries after being struck by wood debris that fell when a portion of the construction collapsed, Fire Captain Erik Scott said. The firefighter was taken to a hospital in good condition, he said.

Arson investigators had detained Garcia at the scene after determining the fire was "incendiary and suspicious in nature," Scott said.

Garcia was being held Monday night on $75,000 bail, according to the fire department. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

More than 100 firefighters battled the flames, which were extinguished in about 40 minutes. Fire officials said an investigation was still ongoing.

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Associated Press writer John Antczak contributed to this report.

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Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 .

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