Authorities have released photographs and a description of a man sought in connection with last weekend’s fire that damaged part of the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles.
According to CalFire, the person of interest is approximately six feet tall and weighs 170 to 190 pounds. He is believed to be between the ages of 30 and 35 and has black hair.
His race and eye color are unknown, officials said.
He was seen in a black hoodie, blue shorts and gray shoes with a green scarf, a knee brace on his right knee and a dark-colored backpack.
The man appeared to have visible burn injuries on his left leg, authorities said.
“The fire was determined to be incendiary and on State of California property,” CalFire said in a release. “The subject then [left] the immediate area and is unable to be located.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the CalFire Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408.
Information can also be submitted to the Arson and Bomb Unit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Flames first broke out shortly after midnight on Nov. 11 in a storage yard underneath the 10 Freeway near East 14th and Alameda streets. The blaze engulfed both sides of 14th Street underneath the 10, eventually melting some of the freeway’s steel guardrails and damaging fire engines, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.
After more than 160 firefighters from 26 companies extinguished the flames, hazmat crews had to complete an assessment of the scene before structural engineers were able to begin their work to determine if the entire roadway would need to be rebuilt.
The following day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the affected stretch of the 10 could reopen within three to five weeks and that no demolition was necessary.
Also known by the shorthand term Airspace, the agency is “responsible for leasing and managing those properties or sites held for a transportation purpose that can safely accommodate a secondary use,” according to their website.
Newsom also said that the state is currently in litigation with the company leasing the property, Apex Development Inc.
The case is expected to be heard in court in early 2024.
“We’ve been in a litigious posture for some time,” Gov. Newsom said on Monday. “They stopped paying their rent, they’re out of compliance…and they have been subleasing this site to at least five, maybe as many as six tenants, without authorization from Caltrans or from our federal partners.”
Luis Zuñiga contributed to this report.