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Man's body found at scene of early morning brushfire

 8300 W La Tuna Caynon Rd  brushfire

Screenshot via Google Maps

Brushfire location near 8300 W La Tuna Caynon Rd in Sunland, CA.

A body was found at the scene of a brushfire in the San Fernando Valley near the entrance of the West trail of Santa Monica Conservatory Park, according to LAFD spokesman Erik Scott.

Los Angeles Fire Department responders recieved a call at 8300 W La Tuna Caynon Rd just before 3 a.m. Thursday, and the small 20' x 20' Sunland brushfire was quickly extinguished by LAFD personnel.

Arson and homicide investigators arrived at the scene after a man's body was discovered. Officials will try to determine the cause of the fire, and how the body arrived at the location.


Dorothee Burkhart, German mother of LA serial arsonist suspect, faces extradition to Germany

Los Angeles Arson

Bill Robles/AP

In this courtroom sketch, Dorothee Burkhart appears in federal court on fraud charges Tuesday Jan. 3, 2012 in Los Angeles. Burkhart is the mother of suspected Los Angeles arsonist Harry Burkhart.

A federal judge ruled Thursday in Los Angeles that Dorothee Burkhart, mother of LA serial arsonist suspect Harry Burkhart, should be extradited from the United States to face fraud charges in Germany.

The ruling, however, does not necessarily mean she'll be immediately returned to Germany, says the U.S. attorney's office.

Harry Burkhart, Ms. Burkhart's 24-year-old son, is charged with 100 arson-related counts involving a rash of 49 fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley that broke out over New Year's weekend.

Ms. Burkhart contended she was needed here to help her son's defense. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick denied her motion to stay the proceeding, and an application by Harry Burkhart to intervene in the extradition, reports the Associated Press.

Details regarding possible procedural paths in the case are expected later.


Deputies arrest alleged arsonist accused of starting devastating Hacienda Heights church fire


Gregory Yusuke Shiga

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest this week of a man suspected of setting fire to a Catholic church in Hacienda Heights last year, completely destroying the beloved structure.

Gregory Yusuke Shiga, a 34-year-old parolee, was arrested Monday on charges of causing the fire one year ago at St. John Vianney Catholic Church. The early morning blaze on April 16, 2011 burned for two and a half hours and gutted the church, causing $6.5 million in damages.

Authorities immediately announced they believed it was caused by arson, but a suspect had not been identified until now.

Shiga is accused of breaking into the church's sanctuary just after midnight and deliberately setting the blaze. He faces charges including arson, burglary and possession of flammable material and could get 10 years to life in prison if convicted, according to the Sheriff’s Department. He is being held on $1 million bail pending arraignment on May 30.


Taxi torching arson suspect arrested for 2010 post-Lakers game melee

lapd staples center

Photo by Chris Yarzab via Flickr Creative Commons

An arson suspect in the two-year-old case of the taxi that was set on fire after the Lakers won the NBA Championship in 2010, was arrested and released on bail last weekend.

22-year-old Darren Cooper of San Bernardino came to the attention of investigators thanks to witness tips and footage taken of the June 17, 2010 incident, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department officials.

One of several acts of violence and vandalism that occurred near the Staples Center downtown, Cooper is accused of burning the taxi, and was charged with one felony count of arson to property, say authorities. 

"The taxi driver, out of fear for his own life, got out of the vehicle, and they proceeded to break the windows of his taxi, jump on his taxi, tear off the mirrors, tear off the taxi sign, graffiti across the hood of his car - and there were six individuals that we feel were responsible for the burning of his vehicle," said LA Fire Captain Jamie Moore who says they identified Cooper from a video taken by someone on the street.


In Long Beach, exotic animals, pot, a drug lab and then a fire

Google Maps

The 1900 block of Caspian Ave., Long Beach, Calif., where the police raid and fire took place.

Authorities said that a fire broke out at a Long Beach home early Friday after sheriffs served a warrant there for marijuana farming.

Police raiding the house Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. after spotting marijuana plants growing in the backyard. ABC 7 reports that law enforcement discovered 22 marijuana plants, as well as sophisticated drug-making setups and several exotic animals. The fire started soon after authorities finished their investigation.

"We had several different rooms that had clandestine labs for hallucinogens -- mushrooms, peyote, things of that nature — and a separate lab also with the cultivation of marijuana," Long Beach police Sgt. Timothy Long told KTLA. "So we had a total of about three separate labs inside the house."

KTLA said that animal control officers confiscated four boa constrictors, three tarantulas and one scorpion. Three men were arrested in connection with marijuana possession. Arson investigators found that an accelerant was used to ignite the blaze.