After Hollywood fires, eyewitness reports roll in

Scorched car

Tony Pierce / KPCC

One of the burned cars outside Jim Morrison's former residence on the 8000 block of Rothdell Trail.

Several burned cars in Hollywood

Tony Pierce / KPCC

A cleanup crew takes a break outside a burned up carport on the 6300 block of Lexington in Hollywood.

Boarded up windows, scorched facade

Tony Pierce / KPCC

Building owners chat in front of 1434 Fuller Ave. with their insurance adjustor in front of one of the buildings damaged by arsonists who set at least 19 fires early Friday morning.

Burned car on Citrus

Tony Pierce / KPCC

A car with an Obama sticker on its rear bumper was torched on the 1300 block of Citrus during a spate of arson activity in Hollywood.

Doll parts

Tony Pierce / KPCC

Blackened doll babies sit in a burned out apartment on the 6300 block of Lexington in Hollywood after an arsonist set fire to cars in a carport below.

Mike Meadows/AP

A Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter is shown at a fire in West Hollywood, Calif., on Friday Dec.30, 2011. The fires started shortly after midnight.

Tony Pierce/KPCC

One of the buildings damaged by arsonist who set at least 19 fires early Friday morning. This one is at 1434 Fuller Ave.

Tony Pierce/KPCC

One of the burned car outside Jim Morrison's former residence on the 8000 block of Rothdell Trail.

Assessing the arson aftermath

Tony Pierce / KPCC

Building owners chat in front of 1434 Fuller Ave. with their insurance adjustor in front of one of the buildings damaged by arsonists who set at least 19 fires early Friday morning.


After a rash of arson fires broke out in Hollywood and West Hollywood early Friday morning, eyewitnesses have come forward with accounts from their neighborhoods.

Although the 19 fires started in cars, they often spread to nearby homes or apartments.

CBS reports that one of the homes damaged was in Laurel Canyon where Morrison and his girlfriend once lived, neighbors said.

Sandy Gendel owns a nearby restaurant and said he saw 30-foot-high flames coming from the deck of Morrison's former home and a gutted Mazda Miata.

"It was just like a towering inferno," Gendel told CBS.

Some residents fled their homes in fear of flying sparks and spreading fires.

"I woke up really scared. I heard somebody saying, 'Fire, fire,'" Daniel Meza of Hollywood told ABC7.

City Councilman Tom LaBonge said the arsonist targeted underground parking in mid-century style apartments that have no security gates, CBS reports. LaBonge also said that all of the fires occurred in a 4-square-mile area.

West Hollywood Sheriff's Station deputies and Los Angeles County firefighters received a call to the first fire at 12:23 a.m., calling them to the 7700 block of Romaine in West Hollywood. The last fire occurred a little after 2 a.m. on Harper Avenue, where 50 people had to be temporarily evacuated.

"Arsonists often like to watch fires they set," said Sheriff's Detective Nordskog. "Please contact us if you noticed anything suspicious. Someone likely saw something they may not think was important, but all clues are good clues right now."

In addition to eyewitness accounts, investigators believe video surveillance cameras may hold the key to the investigation, the Los Angeles Times reports.

With contributions by Hayley Fox

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