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Arson Suspect Believed in Photographer Guise

August 21, 1986|DENISE HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

Glendale fire officials are looking for an arson suspect who they believe masqueraded as a photographer while setting two fires that burned 135 acres Tuesday, injuring at least two people and damaging four hillside homes.

Time-delay incendiary devices were found at the scene of both fires, John Orr, an arson investigator with the Glendale Fire Department, said Wednesday.

"This guy sets the fires and the time delay allows him to get several miles away. When the Fire Department arrives, he returns to the scene and begins snapping . . . he blends right in. There must have been 100 photographers here yesterday," Orr said, referring to Tuesday's fire.

Two other fires that burned about six acres and caused more than $50,000 worth of damage to two homes in La Canada Flintridge Tuesday are also under investigation by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department arson squad.

A sheriff's spokeswoman declined to make any comment until the investigation is complete.

Overheard Conversation in Glendale Bar

Glendale arson investigators became aware of the arson suspect Tuesday, when an off-duty Glendale police officer reported overhearing a conversation in a Glendale bar on Monday evening.

When fires broke out Tuesday afternoon on East Chevy Chase Drive in Glendale and Linda Vista Road, not far from the Art Center College of Design on the Pasadena-Glendale border, the officer called the Glendale Fire Department to report the conversation and give a description.

About 300 firefighters from Glendale and surrounding communities helped put out the fire. One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation; another sprained his ankle while unsuccessfully pursuing a man who was trying to steal traffic flares near the fire.

Four homes in the area suffered minor smoke damage but residents were not evacuated, said Richard Hinz, Glendale's assistant fire chief.

In La Canada Flintridge, fires scorched the rooftop of a residence on Gould Avenue, causing $12,000 damage. A second home on Meadow Grove received $40,000 damage to the attic, said Debra Shackelford of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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