Man Convicted of Setting Fires in Highland Park

November 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A 38-year-old convicted arsonist, who’s accused of intentionally setting two fires at an address in the Highland Park area, pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges.

Javier Viera, who was previously convicted of arson crimes in the city of Pasadena, is facing two counts of arson of a structure and one count of aggravated arson.

Viera, who’s being held on $1.58 million bail, is due back in court on Dec. 6, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Viera was arrested Friday at his home, eight days after Los Angeles Fire Department investigators “responded to a suspected arson fire in the 300 block of North Kirby Street, where they encountered…Viera at the scene,” LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders said.

“At the Kirby Street fire, investigators discovered a second intentionally set fire that had failed to spread at the base of a garage,” he said.

Viera already considered a suspect in a series of deliberately set trash container and vehicle fires in May in the Highland Park area, Sanders said.

Viera was convicted of 11 counts of arson in 2014, according to the criminal complaint.

“Arson is a serious crime and we have zero tolerance for willful acts of destruction in the city of Los Angeles,” LAFD Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said after Viera’s arrest.

“We are thankful there were no injuries or lives lost as a result of these fires and we will always investigate and prosecute the serious crime of arson to the fullest extent of the law,” Terrazas said.

Fire Destroys Businesses in Hermon Strip Mall

July 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A fire damaged several businesses in a strip mall in the Hermon section of Los Angeles Wednesday morning, but no one was hurt.

Firefighters were sent to the 5900 block of Monterey Road about 4:30 a.m., a Los Angeles Fire Department dispatcher said, adding that the single-story structure that houses the strip mall’s businesses was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

The roof had partially collapsed, so firefighters assumed a defensive, “surround-and-drown” strategy in a successful effort to prevent the flames from spreading to other structures.

Television footage showed that the fire heavily damaged a sushi restaurant, a dry cleaners, and a hair salon. A doughnut shop also sustained some damage. By daybreak, the flames were contained, and by 7 a.m., the fire was out.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

During the firefighting effort, officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck Division routed traffic away from the scene, said police Sgt. Victor Arellano.

(Courtesy of LAFD)

(Courtesy of LAFD)

Man Critically Injured in Highland Park Fire

July 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A man between 30 and 40 years old was critically injured in a kitchen fire in an apartment in Highland Park Thursday, according to a Los Angeles Fire Department official.

The fire at a garden-style apartment building in the 5000 block of East Echo Street was reported at 6:48 p.m., Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

The fire was held in check and extinguished by sprinklers, but firefighters found the victim unresponsive inside the affected third-floor unit, Stewart said.

The victim was in critical condition when taken to a hospital, Stewart said.

The fire was caused by food left cooking on the stove, she said.

The apartment had working smoke alarms, Stewart said.

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