SPPD Nabs Man for Allegedly Setting Brush Fires Sunday

Photo courtesy South Pasadena Police Department
Firefighters extinguished a series of brush fires on San Pascual Avenue and Arroyo Drive early Sunday morning before they could threaten nearby structures.

A 34-year-old man will be arraigned later this month on seven felony counts after being arrested on suspicion of lighting several brush fires in South Pasadena neighborhoods early Sunday morning.
In observance of the COVID-19 pandemic, the suspect is undergoing quarantine protocol at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, under custody of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, after initially being booked into the Alhambra jail on Sunday morning. According to investigators, the arrest represented a parole violation for the suspect, so he was denied bail when the arraignment was scheduled.
The L.A. man, who told investigators he was homeless, was arrested by the South Pasadena Police Department after being caught allegedly setting a brush fire in the 300 block of San Pascual Avenue at around 1 a.m. Sunday. The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office is expected to charge him with three felony counts of arson, three felony counts of arson during a state of emergency and one felony count of attempted arson.
“It just appears that he was just using a lighter to light the brush,” explained Jason Sutliff, an arson investigator with the San Marino Fire Department. “He wasn’t using an accelerant or anything like that.”
The South Pasadena Fire Department has a shared operations agreement with its San Marino counterpart, which includes the pooling of resources and personnel.
As the initial call was being reported, SPPD said it quickly received additional calls about three other brush fires, all reported at properties between the 300 and 500 blocks of Arroyo Drive, which run immediately parallel to where the San Pascual blaze was.
All of the fires were quickly extinguished by SPFD firefighters and officers arrested the L.A. man shortly afterward. Sutliff said the suspect had no prior arrests or convictions for arson, and was not suspected of any additional arson incidents at this time. From his initial interview with the suspect, Sutliff said he could not establish a specific or targeted motive for the blazes.
“He doesn’t have any association with South Pasadena that we know of,” Sutliff said.
Aside from the burned vegetation, there was no property damage recorded from the burns, according to SPPD, and none of the blazes posed a significant threat to homes or other property.
Those with additional information concerning these incidents are urged to contact SPFD at (626) 403-7270, or to contact Sutliff at SMFD by calling (626) 300-0735.