Blaze damages auto repair shop

Burbank authorities on Tuesday said a fire that broke out in an auto repair shop early Saturday morning did not appear to be related to the rash of Los Angeles arson fires that spread north into the San Fernando Valley about the same time.

They did, however, continue to link the blaze that destroyed a Corvette in Burbank — also early Saturday morning — to the arsons, for which Los Angeles authorities have arrested a suspect.

The auto repair shop fire, reported about 1 a.m. Saturday in the 2800 block of San Fernando Road, caused about $170,000 in damage and appeared to be intentionally set, officials said. No injuries were reported.

“Approximately 75% of the garage appeared to be severely burnt,” Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said.


Seven vehicles inside the garage sustained minor to moderate damage, Ryburn added.

Burbank Fire Battalion Chief Frank Walbert estimated damage to the building’s structure at about $100,000, with another $70,000 in smoke damage to the interior, including an upstairs office area.

Later that morning at about 2:20 a.m., firefighters were called to the car fire in the 2100 block of Rose Street that consumed a 2006 Corvette.

Officials said the blaze is considered to be one of the more than 50 fires that were allegedly set by Harry Burkhart, 24 — a German national who was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.


“It’s consistent with two in Sun Valley from that same night,” Ryburn said. “The MO is consistent and Burbank police and fire arson investigators are working with local and federal authorities.”

Walbert said the investigation involving the Corvette is still ongoing, but added that, “Things are pointing that way,” regarding ties to the L.A. fires.

Burkhart was charged with one count of arson, which is enough to hold him, according to information presented at a press conference by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, who said it was likely additional charges would be filed.

It was not known Tuesday if any charges would be filed in the Burbank case since the investigation remained ongoing, Ryburn said.

Patrols in Burbank were increased Friday and Saturday, Ryburn said, and likely would have continued if Burkhart had not been caught.