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LAFD On The Hunt For Alleged Serial Arsonist

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Fire Department is on the hunt for a man they say has set several fires in the west San Fernando Valley.

They say the arson suspect is responsible for a dozen fires set in Chatsworth between October 21 and October 28.

Ten of the fires were set in garbage cans and two in or around car ports.

The LAFD’s Arson-Counter Terrorism unit has released a three-and-a-half minute surveillance video of the arsonist.

The man is seen getting out of his car outside Osaka restaurant on Devonshire Street. He methodically walks towards a garbage bin around 5:26 a.m. on October 28. After setting the fire, the man can be seen putting his car in reverse and spending a few moments looking on as the fire grows in intensity.

Amanda Burden, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, spoke to Gerry DeJesus who saw the arsonist when he was scanning his security camera video.

DeJesus says signs warning that security cameras are in operation are clearly visible. “He parked right in front of the sign. And he saw the sign. And I think he looked up and saw the camera but didn’t care. He just did his business,” said DeJesus.

He told Burden he was glad the fire didn’t amount to much. “If it had really gone up, probably the restaurant and the building next door would have suffered.”

Burden also spoke to Daniel Sarver, a resident who lives on Independence Avenue. Sarver was sleeping when he awoke to a fire that was burning patio furniture and umbrellas outside his apartment building. “I think it’s insane to be honest. I don’t know what goes through someone’s head to decide to light people’s private property on fire. Our safety is in danger. The fire could spread and it could kill people. It’s not right.”

If you recognize the person seen in the video, you are asked to please call the LAFD at (213) 893-9850.

The LAFD also asks LA residents to share the video “by e-mail, post a link via social media or embed the video (and our request) on your Facebook page, website or blog. For Twitter, we are using the hashtag #LAarson.”

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