New Sketch Issued of Man Seen at Library Fire

Times Staff Writer

Fire Department officials Friday released a new, detailed composite drawing of a man in his late 20s or early 30s whom they want to question in connection with the $22-million arson fire that struck the historic Los Angeles Central Library.

Fire Chief Donald Manning said the drawing "closely resembles" the man seen in a restricted area just minutes before the blaze broke out April 29 in the northwest section of the book stacks.

"We want to talk to this man now," the chief said.

Not Called a Suspect

Manning and other fire officials emphasized that the man is not suspected of starting the blaze. "But he was in an area the public should not have been in," Manning said.

A Central Library employee, whom fire officials have declined to identify, briefly spoke to the casually dressed man minutes before the fire was discovered, Manning said. He added that he did not know the nature of that brief conversation.

The new drawing, based on repeated interviews with more than 350 library workers, differs from the sketch released last week in two ways: The man is now shown to have a pronounced nose and a bushy mustache.

The man was described by Manning as being about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing about 160 pounds.

Poster to Be Circulated

Manning said a poster with the new drawing will be circulated next week in the nearby skyscrapers downtown, all branches of the Los Angeles library system, and campus libraries at colleges and universities in the area.

Anyone with information regarding the man wanted for questioning is encouraged to call the Fire Department at (213) 626-1081.

A $30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the blaze.

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