After Hollywood fires, eyewitness reports roll in

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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 from Hayley Fox

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