Fire at Pasadena community center blamed on fireworks, labeled arson

PASADENA >> Police are seeking man and woman who tossed a firework into brush in front of the Villa Parke Community Center in Pasadena on Independence Day, scorching several hundred square feet of shrubbery, singing the building and causing a natural gas leak, officials said.
The fire ignited just before 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday in the planters in front of the community center at 363 E. Villa Street, Pasadena police Lt. Pete Hettema said.
“Some witnesses saw two people come up and throw a firework into the area,” the lieutenant said. They were described only as a Latino man and woman in their 30s. The woman was wearing a white dress.
The fire spread through the shrub-filled planters in front of the community center and made its way up against the building, causing minor damage, Hettema said. The fire damaged a natural gas regular, sending the flammable gas seeping into the air.
Firefighters made quick work of the fire and prevented serious damage to the structure, a city-owned facility used often for community events and programs, officials said.
Several palm tree fires in the city on Tuesday were also suspected to be the result of illegal fireworks, Hettema said.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241.

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