Crime & Justice

Da Vinci Apartment Complex fire was arson, investigators say

A photo taken by an eyewitness shows flames rising from a massive construction site fire in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, December 8, 2014.
A photo taken by an eyewitness shows flames rising from a massive construction site fire in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, December 8, 2014.
Courtesy of KaOri Pamon and Rejeana Black
A photo taken by an eyewitness shows flames rising from a massive construction site fire in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, December 8, 2014.
Los Angeles County firefighters battle a fire at an apartment building under construction next to the Harbor CA-110 Freeway in Los Angeles, early Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.
Damian Dovarganes/AP
A photo taken by an eyewitness shows flames rising from a massive construction site fire in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, December 8, 2014.
Los Angeles County firefighters battle a fire at an apartment building under construction next to the Harbor CA-110 Freeway in Los Angeles, early Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.
Damian Dovarganes/AP
A photo taken by an eyewitness shows flames rising from a massive construction site fire in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, December 8, 2014.
A photo taken by an eyewitness shows flames rising from a massive construction site fire in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, December 8, 2014.
Courtesy of KaOri Pamon and Rejeana Black
A photo taken by an eyewitness shows flames rising from a massive construction site fire in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, December 8, 2014.
Windows of buildings adjacent to an under-constuction apt building that caught fire early Monday morning, Dec. 8, 2014 were blown out by the heat.
Maya Sugarman/ KPCC


The huge fire at the under construction Da Vinci Apartment Complex in downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 8 was the result of arson, according to a press release from the L.A. Fire Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

"Investigators recovered sufficient evidence to eliminate all known potential accidental causes and determine the fire was intentionally set," the release says.

Investigators made that determination after going through the debris, taking photographs and recovering potential evidence from the scene, according to the release. They finished investigating the site of the fire on Wednesday. The release says they will continue to follow leads and analyze evidence.

"Based on what they were able to find at the scene, they were able to point to an arson as a cause," the LAFD's Peter Sanders tells KPCC.

Further specifics weren't released, with the LAFD and ATF citing the ongoing criminal investigation.

The structure wasn't occupied at the time of the fire. Nobody was injured, the Associated Press reports, but the fire destroyed the wooden framing of the seven-story complex and the intense heat also melted a freeway sign and cracked or shattered hundreds of windows in nearby office buildings.

The fire caused between $20 million and $30 million in damage to the apartments, according to the release. The total cost of damages has yet to be determined.

Police say they're still seeking two witnesses seen in video from the fire. but noted that the two are not considered suspects or persons of interest.

"One individual was captured on tape walking down Fremont Street, prior to the fire starting," Sanders said. "The second individual was captured on a news stringer’s video as the fire was already underway. That individual appeared to try to be entering the fire scene by climbing the fence."

This story has been updated.