Man Arrested in Connection With Massive Fire at Unfinished Apartment Complex in Downtown L.A.

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A fire burned at a downtown L.A. apartment building on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

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A 56-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a massive fire that destroyed an unfinished apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles in December, authorities announced Wednesday.

Dawud Abdulwali was taken into custody during a traffic stop Tuesday by members of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Los Angeles Fire Department, LAPD Officer Tony Im confirmed to KTLA.

Abdulwali was arrested at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and was booked less than two hours later at the LAPD's 77th Street station, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department online inmate records.

He was booked on suspicion of aggravated arson and arson of a structure, according to a news release from fire officials.

The suspect's bail was set at $1,036,925, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The Dec. 8 blaze gutted the seven-story Da Vinci Apartments complex, at 900 West Temple Street (map), causing between $20 million and $30 million in damage, authorities said. The inferno damaged three nearby buildings and temporarily shut down two freeways.

No one was injured in the fire, which was extinguished within 90 minutes by about 250 firefighters.

Less than two weeks after the incident, LAFD and ATF investigators announced that it was caused by arson. In January, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $170,000 reward in the case.

An LAFD battalion chief in March told an Echo Park community group that investigators had surveillance footage that showed a suspect at the scene carrying cans of fuel, the Los Angeles Times reported. The footage was not released to the public.

"All the evidence we have right now points to this person as a suspect," said Carlos Canino, ATF Special Agent in Charge.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office was expected to file charges on Thursday.

Because of the large amount of monetary damage caused by the blaze, Abdulwali faced a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted, the release from fire officials stated.

KTLA's Kennedy Ryan contributed to this story.

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