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Suspected arsonist arrested after string of fires in Sherman Oaks

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A man in his 50s was arrested shortly after midnight Thursday in connection with six fires started within about an hour along Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. 

The suspect was spotted by authorities and taken into custody near the intersection of Katherine Avenue and Moorpark Street, said Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. J. Hensley. 

Reports of rubbish fires began as early as 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Around 9 p.m., fire crews fought back a blaze that started in the back of a strip mall in the 13900 block of Ventura Boulevard. That fire spread to a nearby apartment building.

No one was injured and the structure fire was knocked down in 17 minutes, with the damage occurring mostly on the exteriors of both buildings, Katherine Main, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Fire Department said Thursday. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $20,000.

The latest reported fire occurred west of the structure fire at about 9:30 p.m., Main said.

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