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Arson Suspected in 3 Fires in 1 Hour in Glendale Area

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Times Staff Writer

Arsonists set three fires within an hour in the Glendale area Sunday night, causing more than $135,000 damage, authorities said.

Firefighters responded to an alarm about 9:50 p.m. at the Pacific States Box & Basket Co. on South Los Angeles Street at Magnolia Avenue in Glendale, where fires were set in eight places, destroying $50,000 worth of cardboard boxes and plastic strawberry containers, John Orr, Glendale Fire Department investigator, said.

Shortly after the first alarm, a car parked at the nearby Amtrak station was forced open and set ablaze, Orr said.

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While Glendale firefighters were putting out the car fire, the Los Angeles Fire Department was called to a blaze at a public storage facility across the railroad tracks.

The fire, which was extinguished in an hour by nine firefighting units, left a collapsed roof and an estimated loss of $85,000, including $35,000 in household items stored in the building, a Fire Department spokesman said.

“It was definitely arson,” Orr said. “It is probably all connected because it all happened close together.”

There has been a 50% increase in arson in Glendale in the last two months, Orr said, after a 12% decline earlier in 1984.

In an unrelated fire shortly after midnight, a South Pasadena Fire Department photographer was injured as flames swept a hilltop home in that city. Damage was estimated at $1 million, fire investigators said.

Chris Egebjirg, 33, was hospitalized with first- and second-degree burns after a porch ceiling collapsed on him while he was taking pictures, Fire Capt. Roger Houston said.

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The blaze at the Hermosa Street home could be seen for nearly a mile and may have been started by an electrical short in the attic, Houston said. The family of four living at the home escaped without injury, he said.

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