Arson Suspect Found Inside Burning Calif. Building

Sept. 01--Orange County sheriff's officials said they caught a suspected arsonist in the act inside a burning building in Dana Point early Sunday.

Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of breaking glass sounds and a suspicious person at the Dana Point Arts Plaza building about 3:45 a.m., according to a statement released by the Sheriff's Department. When deputies arrived, the building was on fire, and they found Alex Espinoza, 27, of Laguna Niguel, inside holding a lighter, deputies said.

Fifty firefighters battled the two-alarm blaze for about 30 minutes before they extinguished it, sheriff's officials said. The fire caused about $400,000 in damage, but there were no injuries.

Orange County Fire Authority investigators concluded that the fire was intentionally set but did not provide further details. The investigation is ongoing.

Espinoza was arrested on charges of arson and burglary and was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department or Fire Authority at (714) 647-7000. Anonymous tips may be sent to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855) 847-6227 or at occrimestoppers.org.

Copyright 2014 - Los Angeles Times

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