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Authorities release photo and description of ‘person of interest’ involved in Highway 10 arson

The California State Fire Marshal’s Office has released a photo and description of a “person of interest” in connection with the massive arson fire that burned under Interstate 10 south of downtown of Los Angeles, leading to the closure of the highway.

Photographs of the scene taken at 12:31 a.m. on Nov. 11 show a man walking near Alameda Street and the 10 Freeway. He is wearing blue shorts and a black jacket and is carrying a black backpack and a green scarf . He also has a brace on his right knee and what appear to be burns on his left leg.

The fire, which closed the westbound and eastbound lanes of the highway, affecting 300,000 vehicles that use the route daily, started under the Alameda Street overpass and was fueled by wooden pallets falling there were stored.

The highway – one of the busiest roads in the country – is expected to open to traffic on Tuesday.

Shortly after the fire was extinguished, authorities determined it was arson. Although the exact cause of the fire has not been revealed, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a news conference Monday that “there was (malicious) intent.”

In addition to the pallets, disinfectant accumulated during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was stored under the overpass and helped fuel the flames, according to sources close to the investigation who were not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

The state fire marshal’s office, which has jurisdiction over the property, which is owned by Caltrans, put out a call for witnesses to call a tip line and noted that such advice could be given in a manner anonymous.

“We have identified the point of origin of the fire,” State Fire Marshal Daniel Berlant said.

If the suspect is identified, authorities ask the public to contact the State Fire Marshall’s Arson and Bomb Unit at arsonbomb@fire.ca.gov or contact the Cal Fire Arson Hotline at 800-468 -4408.

Los Angeles Times

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