20-Year-Old Transient Charged With Arson in East Hollywood Apartment Fire That Displaced 20 People

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A 20-year-old man has been charged in connection with an East Hollywood apartment fire that left 20 people displaced.

Firefighters battled an apartment fire in East Hollywood on June 12, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)

Benicio Garcia, a local transient, is facing two counts each of arson of an inhabited structure and arson of a structure, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday in a news release.

The apartment, located in the 400 block of North Heliotrope Drive, was under construction when it caught fire on Monday. Garcia was the only person inside the apartment building when the fire broke out, the D.A.’s office said.

Benicio Garcia is seen as he was handcuffed after a fire in East Hollywood on June 12, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)

Garcia was seen outside of the apartment building by witnesses. He was arrested at the scene.

More than 100 firefighters responded and knocked down the blaze in 45 minutes. The fire charred the first top two floors of the apartment building.

A nearby home had minor damages from the fire, while another apartment building had smoke exposure and had to be evacuated leaving 10 adults and 10 children displaced, officials said.

Garcia was expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

If convicted as charged he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and four months in state prison.

A female firefighter suffered minor injuries.

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