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Fire Causes $1 Million Damage

A suspected arson in Hermosa Beach Tuesday night left the occupants of two apartment buildings homeless, caused nearly $1 million in damage and knocked out telephone service to 369 customers.

No one was seriously injured in the fire, during which police evacuated the residents of the 11 apartments. However, a Hermosa Beach firefighter sustained a minor back injury when he fell through a wall, said Steve Wisniewski, city public safety director.

The fire began in a partly demolished, vacant single-family house on Manhattan Avenue near 4th Street and quickly spread to the apartment buildings on either side. Wisniewski said witnesses saw two youths run from the house, which was being razed for new construction, shortly before the fire was reported at 11:42 p.m.

Wisniewski said the fire took about an hour to control, but firefighters continued to battle it through the night. A General Telephone spokeswoman said that at 5:30 a.m., the fire ignited a cable; service was to have been restored by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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