Transient jailed on suspicion of Pasadena arson fires

PASADENA — Authorities jailed a local transient Thursday in connection with a series of arson fires targeting debris piles created by recent windstorms.
Juan Boch, 26, is suspected in at least two of nine intentionally set fires lit along the 210 Freeway between Los Robles Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue between Dec. 27 and Jan. 5, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
He was arrested about 9 a.m. Thursday, booked on suspicion of arson and was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, according to county booking records.
Thanks to the public’s vigilance, we were able to track this suspect down,” Derderian said.
Witnesses linked Boch to two of the fires, however investigators were investigating him in connection with the other seven, she said.
The fires targeted piles of debris left in the street in the wake of a massive windstorm that littered the streets of Pasadena with tree limbs and shrubbery in early December.
The fires took place during the same time period that alleged serial arsonist Harry Burkhart, 24, of Hollywood is accused of leaving a trail of destruction and fear by lighting more than 50 arson fires in the Hollywood area.
Unlike the Hollywood fires, however, “This individual was sticking to isolated debris in the streets,” Derderian said, adding that the fires did not appear to pose a significant public safety threat.
“We’re very fortunate that this did not escalate any further,” Derderian said.
Because the fire’s did not appear to endanger the public, and because of the nature of arsonists, Derderian said fire officials elected not to alert the public about the firebug as they carried out their investigation.
A motive for Boch’s alleged arsons was not clear Friday.
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