City fire officials believe that a blaze that destroyed a two-story brick building near Huntington Beach Pier last Thursday was caused by a transient living in a shed behind the structure.
"Yes, we do have a suspect," Fire Chief Ray Picard said. "Yes, we have approached the district attorney."
Picard declined to say whether officials had positively identified the individual, who is not in custody. Whether the transient will be arrested, the chief said, "depends on how the district attorney looks at the case, and if he considers it to be a chargeable offense."
The origin of the fire "came from one of two sources in the shed," Picard said, "and spread to the interior of the building," located at 112-114 Main St.
Seven people were injured, including Thomas Townsend, 46, a fire engineer, who entered the burning building to shut off the gas and other utilities. A brick wall collapsed on him, crushing three of the vertebrae in his lower back and breaking other bones.