UPDATE: On the morning of August 27, 2019, only four days after the incidents in question, the LAFD Arson and Counter-Terrorism Section filed a felony criminal complaint with the Targeted Crimes Section of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's (DA) Office. The DA's office filed two counts of 451(c) Arson of a Structure and 10 counts of 451(d) Arson of Property. Bail was set for $700,000. The suspect, John Hasekian, is to be arraigned the afternoon of August 27th and the preliminary hearing will take place in the next 7-10 days.
STUDIO CITY - Firefighters extinguished 11 different fires burning in close proximity to each other between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. this morning near Ventura Blvd. The Arson/Counter Terrorism Section (ACTS) arrested a man in relation to these fires, which thankfully did not injure any persons, nor damage any structures.
On the morning of August 23, 2019, members of the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a series of 11 arson fires in the Studio City area of Los Angeles. The fires occurred in trashcans and dumpsters along Ventura Blvd. Through the quick response and aggressive suppression efforts of our members, there were no injuries or fatalities, no structures were lost, and only one vehicle was damaged. Recognizing the significant threat to the community, the Incident Commander requested the LAFD’s Arson Counter Terrorism Section.
ACTS responded with arson investigators from both platoon duty and special duty, along with accelerant detection canine, “Blue.” Arson investigators were able to determine that the fires were intentionally set. Video surveillance was recovered from the area, during the time of several of the fires. Through the course of the investigation, a person of interest was identified. Approximately two hours after the last fire, arson investigators observed the suspect John Hasekian in the vicinity of one of the fires. He was detained and interviewed by arson investigators. Based on the evidence collected, statements obtained, and the totality of the investigation, ACTS arrested Hasekian for arson. LAPD assisted with transporting Hasekian to the North Hollywood station and booked on arson charges. ACTS is working closely with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and will be presenting the case for felony filing considerations.
In March 2019, ACTS previously arrested Hasekian for setting a string of eight fires. Hasekian was convicted of Arson of Property and sentenced to one year in jail. Hasekian is currently homeless.
Battalion Chief Scott Anderson, the commander of ACTS, related that it was through “The swift response and collaborative efforts of our arson investigators that we were able to apprehend the suspect so quickly. A serial arsonist creates fear and panic in the community. By apprehending Hasekian just two hours after he set the fires, we were able to bring peace of mind to the people living in Studio City.”
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