Arson investigators are trying to determine the origin of three separate fires that in three weeks destroyed vacant buildings in Compton's downtown redevelopment area.
The latest one Monday destroyed an old Los Angeles County social services building on Arbutus Street between Tamarind Avenue and Alameda Street. On Friday, a block south of there, the old Bank of America building on Compton Boulevard went up in flames. On April 17, fire destroyed the former Thrifty Drugstore building on Tamarind.
"At this point (the fires) are just suspicious in origin," said Battalion Chief Ernest Mitchell of the Compton Fire Department. "We have not found any evidence of flammable liquids."
The blazes could have been started accidentally, he said, explaining that homeless people and drug addicts have been known to break into the buildings. All the fires, Mitchell said, occurred during the afternoon in light winds, and in all three cases, flames had reached through the rooftops by the time firefighters arrived.
The Compton Redevelopment Agency owns all three properties.