Suspect wanted for small fire

GLENDALE — Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide detectives are searching for a 25-year-old transient, wanted for questioning regarding a small fire that occurred in the same vicinity — but six days before — the deadly Station fire.

Sheriff’s detectives want to talk to Babatunsin Olukunle about the smaller Lady Bug fire, named after the Lady Bug turnout on Angeles Crest Highway six miles north of the Station fire’s origin, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. The Lady Bug fire burned less than an acre before being extinguished.

“There is no evidence to link him to the Station fire at this time, but if they talk to him and they find him, the Station fire may come up,” Whitmore said.

Olukunle’s last known home was the Angeles National Forest within La Cañada Flintridge city limits.

He is a Nigerian national, Whitmore said. He attended UC Davis until 2007 but did not graduate.

Detectives investigating the Lady Bug fire are also looking into the Station fire, he said.

The U.S. Forest Service firefighters who put out the small blaze asked Olukunle to remain at the scene, but he did not, Whitmore said.

Last month, authorities determined that the Station fire was arson. Investigators examining forensic evidence determined the fire’s point of origin as just off Angeles Crest Highway north of La Cañada Flintridge.

The fire became a homicide investigation after Los Angeles County firefighters Tedmund Hall and Arnaldo Quinones were killed while battling the massive blaze.

The Station fire started at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 26, burned more than 160,000 acres, caused injuries to 22 people and destroyed 80 homes.

Olukunle does not have a violent criminal record, Whitmore said. He was last seen in Lancaster.

Anyone with details about Olukunle’s whereabouts is asked to call Detectives Todd Anderson and Mike Valento at the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.


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