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Suspected arsonist arrested after fire that leaves 3 children badly burned in Wilmington

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An arsonist was arrested after setting a fire that left three children badly burned in Wilmington, authorities said.
(Erik Scott / Los Angeles Fire Department)

A man in his 30s was arrested Thursday evening after setting a fire at a Wilmington home that left three children badly burned, officials said.

The man was not immediately identified, but Los Angeles police said he was a relative of a couple who lived in the two-story duplex along with a mother and her three children. Police said the man is 38 or 39 years old.

Shortly before 6 p.m., the man entered the home in the 700 block of North Hawaiian Avenue and set a fire inside using an accelerant, according to LAPD Det. Megan Aguilar. It’s unclear if he was allowed in or if he forced entry.

When paramedics arrived, they rushed into the burning home to rescue two of the children while a Los Angeles police officer and two civilians pulled a third child out of a window, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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A team of 35 firefighters arrived soon after, knocking down the blaze in 14 minutes.

Two of the children, ages 11 and 13, were critically injured. The oldest child, a 15-year-old, was in serious condition, Aguilar said. The LAPD officer involved in the rescue was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

Police are investigating a motive in the attack.

alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

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Twitter: @AleneTchek

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