Police Make Arrest in “Devastating” L.A. Apartment Complex Fire
LOS ANGELES, May 27 (UPI) — Authorities have arrested a suspect in one of the largest intentionally set fires in recent memory, Los Angeles fire officials said Wednesday.
Police arrested Dawud Abdulwali, 56, who faces charges of malicious arson and reckless arson — crimes that, if convicted, could send him to prison for life.
Abdulwali was apprehended Tuesday by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Anti-Terror unit, officials said, and is being held on more than $1 million bail.
The blaze destroyed the seven-story Da Vinci apartment development in December, while the complex was still under construction. Authorities for weeks have been trying to track down those responsible, particularly after surveillance camera footage revealed two people in the area at the time of the fire.
Police said, however, that they don’t believe Abdulwali was either of the figures on the video. It was not immediately clear whether police are looking for additional suspects.
The apartment development occupied about 180,000 square feet near downtown Los Angeles. The flames were so hot they caused damage to nearby office towers, street signs and neighboring office equipment.
Authorities offered $170,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest and conviction. It wasn’t immediately reported whether anyone will receive that bounty.
Los Angeles fire officials have called the “devastating” blaze one of the largest fires in the city’s recent memory. The damage sustained by the complex has been estimated at $30 million, not counting the damage it inflicted on neighboring structures.
All told, the damage could top $100 million, officials said.