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Arson suspect arrested as ATF investigates series of fires in Monrovia

ATF investigating series of suspicious fires in Monrovia.

Police have arrested a 25-year-old Monrovia man on suspicion of arson in connection with a fire at a public book exchange — one in a series of four fires in the city that investigators believe are linked, authorities said.

Officers with the Monrovia Police Department arrested Ryan Dhalliwal on Thursday after he was detained earlier in the morning for questioning, according to a statement from Monrovia’s city manager.

City and federal authorities are continuing their investigation into a suspicious fire that damaged a house in Monrovia on Thursday morning as well as a fire Wednesday morning at a home that was under construction. A small rubbish pile also caught fire that day, along with the wooden structure used to exchange books.

A dog from the Los Angeles Fire Department detected accelerant at all four sites, Monrovia Fire Chief Brad Dover said at a news conference Thursday.

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“There are four fires that appear to be connected and are suspicious in nature,” U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokeswoman Ginger Colbrun said in an email.

ATF, the Verdugo Arson Task Force and the Los Angeles City Fire Department are investigating.

Damage from the fires varied.

The home that caught fire Wednesday morning sat on a tree-lined street in Monrovia, its ribs coal-black and partially collapsed. An incinerated Nissan pickup nearby sagged on melted tires.

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The wooden book exchange did not appear burned Thursday, but a pile of blackened pages sat below, including burnt pages from a copy of the fantasy novel “The Elf Queen of Shannara,” by Terry Brooks.

javier.panzar@latimes.com

@jpanzar


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