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Drifter Denies Guilt in Apartment Fire

July 03, 1986|ROY H. CAMPBELL | Times Staff Writer

A 22-year-old drifter pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his Glendale Municipal Court arraignment on charges that he set the March 27 blaze that swept through a Glendale apartment, injuring 10 people and leaving more than 150 others homeless.

Anthony Martin Kingsley, who also uses the name Tony Wilson, was arrested Friday and charged with arson in the early morning fire in the 200 block of South Kenwood Street. He was also charged with grand theft when police found him in possession of a gun that they say was one of several stolen in an incident earlier this year.

Investigators have not charged Kingsley with any other recent arsons, but fire officials say they have questioned him as a possible suspect in the Jan. 19 fire that destroyed the historic Glendale Elks Lodge, 120 E. Colorado St., and the May 11 fire in a vacant three-story apartment building at 726 S. Central Ave.

"He was present in the crowd watching the fire at the Elks, and he was near the apartment fire," said John Orr, fire investigator.

Preliminary Hearing Set

A preliminary hearing for Kingsley was scheduled for July 17. He is being held in Glendale City Jail under $10,000 bail.

The fire at the Kenwood apartment building started on a third-floor stairwell with rags doused with a flammable liquid, authorities said. The many families who lived in the 32-unit apartment were temporarily housed at the Wilson Junior High School gymnasium by the American Red Cross.

The city has been unable to find the owners of the building, which had been cited for fire code violations numerous times over the last five years. A man previously identified as the owner told city officials he no longer owns the building and showed them a document indicating it now belongs to a partnership.

Since city officials have as yet been unable to find the partners, the City Council on Tuesday followed the city attorney's recommendation that the building be demolished because its existence is "a hazard and a nuisance."

The city has not set a date for demolition, however, as the search is continuing for the owners.

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