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Variation on a Theme: ‘Light My Fire(bird)’

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Police said Jorge Sanchez Lua was looking for gasoline, not trouble, but he wound up with plenty of both.

Around 2 a.m. Saturday, Lua was peacefully filling his tank at a station on West 19th Street when an angry man walked up and began berating Lua for no apparent reason.

Police said the man, known only as “Byron,” had just been thrown out of a nearby bar for causing trouble and was still in a trouble mood.

Byron had a one-gallon milk jug with him. He filled it with gasoline, then began pouring it onto Lua’s car and tried to splash some on Lua himself.

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“Get back or else!” Byron shouted, and Lua complied.

Police said Byron then took out a cigarette lighter and ignited the car. Before firefighters doused the flames, the car--a 1983 Pontiac Firebird--and part of the gasoline pump station were reduced to rubble. Lua was unharmed.

Byron walked away and disappeared, police said. If found, he will be arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, they said.


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