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Los Angeles Fires: 2 Men Charged In More Than 50 Blazes

People inspect the damage following an overnight fire in Hollywood on Friday (Dec. 30, 2011).
Frederic J. Brown
AFP/Getty Images
People inspect the damage following an overnight fire in Hollywood on Friday (Dec. 30, 2011).
(The top of this post was rewritten at 3:15 p.m. ET.)

Authorities in Los Angeles just announced they've made two arrests in connection with the more than 50 fires that had been set in the city in recent days, causing several million dollars worth of damage but no serious injuries.

Earlier, as we said, a "person of interest" was taken into custody in connection with the string of arson-related fires, according to our colleagues at KPCC. And this afternoon, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told City News Service he is confident authorities had the right man, The Associated Press says. It isn't yet clear how the second subject is involved.

Our original post continues:

KPCC adds that:

"Early Monday morning, firefighters and police sped from one blaze to another in West Hollywood, on Laurel Canyon Road and in Sherman Oaks. Firefighters blocked access to Laurel Canyon road and stopped vehicles trying to enter the pass."

Then, according to the Los Angeles Times, "the suspect, believed to be the man in a video police released Sunday, was detained near Sunset Boulevard this morning, said an LAPD source familiar with the investigation into the case. However, in a statement, a Los Angeles fire official said 'it is too early to speculate if this person responsible for the spree arson fires.' "

That statement from LAFD spokesman Erik Scott, is posted on the department's LAFD ALERT blog. There, he also says that "a total of 55 fires of concern have broke out in the Los Angeles area over the last four days from 12/30/11 to 01/02/12. 45 fires in the Los Angeles area, nine in West Hollywood, and one in Burbank."

As KPCC says, Los Angeles police are calling the string of fires "the worst since the 1992 riots. Many have "been started in cars [hence the references by some to "carbeques"] and in some cases spread to carports, garages and apartments," the Times adds.

Among the structures damaged was a home once lived in by Jim Morrison of The Doors.

(Note: we're mostly "off" today — though we are helping our friends at It's All Politics with some of the Iowa caucuses coverage. But we will pop in a few times today, we expect, as news warrants.)

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.