Arson is suspected in a $2-million fire that destroyed a hotel under construction near the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park Saturday night, authorities said Sunday.
It was the Santa Clarita Valley's third suspicious blaze in three weeks.
But any link between the fires remained undetermined. And at least one fire official doubted that the hotel blaze near Valencia was related to two brush fires earlier this month elsewhere in the valley.
"Normally, brush fire people set brush fires and structure people set structure fires," Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief Matt Kearns said.
Kearns said Saturday's 8:40 p.m. fire at the Cresthil Hotel near Magic Mountain Parkway caused about $2 million in damage to the two-story, 152-room hotel, which was in the wood-frame phase of construction.
Fire investigator David Westfield said "all accidental means have been eliminated" as far as the cause of the blaze is concerned.
One of the 150 firefighters who fought the blaze sustained minor burns to some toes when the steel in his reinforced boots overheated. He was expected to be released from Sherman Oaks Community Hospital today.
A neighboring Marie Callender's restaurant was evacuated during the blaze as a precaution, and a portion of the Golden State Freeway was closed after windblown embers ignited a six-acre brush fire on the freeway's east side. The blazes were brought under control by about 10 p.m. Saturday.
The hotel is a joint venture by the Hilton Hotels Corp. and the Newhall Land and Farming Co. Thomas L. Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of the Newhall company, said the fire set back construction by as much as eight months, but the hotel may still open by next summer.
In the two previous suspicious fires, about 20 acres of brush were blackened July 22 near San Fernando Road and Valle del Oro in Newhall. Two teen-agers were detained for questioning about that fire but released to the custody of their parents.
The previous weekend, on July 14, a fire attributed to arson charred 625 acres of brush in the Bouquet Canyon area of the Angeles National Forest. The cost of fighting that fire was estimated at $500,000. Last week, county supervisors offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arsonist's arrest and conviction.