24 Year Old Suspect Sets Off Over 50 Fires on New Year Weekend
The holiday weekend was far from a holiday for Los Angeles police and firefighters as a four-day arson spree pinned them down for most of the time. The nightmare may be over as a result of the alertness of a one-dollar-a-year reserve deputy who apprehended the suspect, 24-year-old Harry Burkhart, a German national.
In a four-day rampage, Burkart is suspected of setting more than 50 fires (in one case 3 fires within the space of 15 minutes) and causing $3 million worth of damage.
Mercifully, only one fireman was injured in a fall, but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa claims that thousands of innocent lives were put at risk and many apartment dwellers had to evacuate their homes.
Police and federal authorities are still trying to pin down the motive for the arson spree. LA Weekly, quoting police sources, wrote that the suspect had declared "I hate America". The reason for this hatred may be deportation proceedings taking place against the suspect or his mother.
Most of the blazes were started in vehicles, with cubes that are used to accelerate a charcoal grill barbecue. This low-tech method worked only too well.