July 03--A 43-year-old man has been charged with setting more than 20 small trash fires throughout Los Angeles this year, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Salvador Munguia pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the string of fires, two of which ignited dry grass, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
The fires occurred between 1st and 6th streets and Boyle and Evergreen avenues in Boyle Heights. Trash cans, discarded furniture and piles of leaves were set on fire between April and June, prosecutors said.
Munguia, whom authorities described as a transient, was arrested June 27 near the scene of a small fire, said Senior Arson Investigator David Liske of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The fires were small and caused no significant damage, district attorney spokesman Greg Risling said.
But even though there was no major damage, the fires could have grown and been more destructive, Liske said.
"They are just as dangerous as any other fire," he said.
Munguia faces 19 felony counts of arson and two counts of arson of grasslands. If convicted on all counts, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in state prison, prosecutors said.
His bail was set at $1.1 million.
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