(CNS) The City Council today approved a $25,000 reward for information leading to convictions in a string of arson fires in a residential Sylmar neighborhood.
In the past five months, fires have burned trees -- usually late at night or in the early mornings -- and spread to vehicles and, in one case, a fence attached to a single-family home.
The string of 16 arson fires began in November, and the most recent occurred March 17, with all occurring within "one square mile in a predominantly residential neighborhood, when people are asleep," according to David Liske, senior arson investigator with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The burned vegetation consisted of mostly ornamental Italian Cypress trees and palms located near buildings, Liske said.
"We are very fortunate that nobody has died (or) been very serious injured, but frankly that is a fluke given the number of fires," according to Councilman Richard Alarcon, who introduced the motion.
Alarcon originally set the reward at $10,000, but Councilman Tom LaBonge suggested it be raised to $25,000. The council approved the reward on a 12-0 vote.
The reward will be in effect for the next six months and offered for information leading to the identification, capture and conviction of the person or people responsible for the fires.
Liske said anyone who with information about the arson fires should call the fire department's Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section at (213) 893-9850.