Man arrested for massive downtown Los Angeles blaze
LOS ANGELES, California — A man has been arrested on suspicion of starting a massive inferno that destroyed an unfinished apartment building and damaged adjacent office towers in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.
Dawud Abdulwali, 56, of Los Angeles, whose name may be an alias, was arrested Tuesday on a traffic warrant and only later was booked on suspicion of aggravated arson and arson of a structure, fire officials said.
He was being held on more than $1 million bail and was expected to be charged on Thursday.
Abdulwali was renting a room in South Los Angeles last year, his landlord, Poleth Chavez, told the Los Angeles Times. In December, around the time of the fire, he paid two months’ rent up front and left, saying he was heading to San Francisco.
The Dec. 8 fire gutted the 1.3-million-square-foot (121,000 square meters) Da Vinci complex that was in the wood-framing stage, sending up flames that could be seen from miles away.
The fire’s heat cracked or shattered hundreds of windows in neighboring buildings, ignited small fires in one, and damaged an adjacent freeway.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said the fire caused $20 million to $30 million in damage to the building site and another $50 million to $60 million to a city-owned building nearby.