10 Freeway fire: Cal Fire releases photos, description of person of interest in downtown LA arson

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Authorities on Saturday released surveillance photos and a description of a person of interest wanted in connection with the fire that shut down a crucial section of the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles.

Cal Fire’s Office of the State Fire Marshal released two images showing a man in a black hooded sweatshirt and blue shorts.

The man being sought is described as 30-35 years old, 6 feet tall, weighing 170-190 pounds, with black hair. He is seen in the photos wearing gray shoes, a green scarf and a knee brace on his right leg. He is carrying a dark-colored backpack and has a possible burn on his left leg, authorities said.

Additional traffic officers are in place this weekend to help motorists navigate high-profile events in the downtown area while restoration work continues on the fire-damaged portion of the 10 Freeway.

“The subject then leaves the immediate area and is unable to be located,” Cal Fire said in a statement, referring to the scene of the inferno that erupted early Nov. 11.

On Sunday morning, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Vice President Kamala Harris and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass will hold a press conference to provide an update on the ongoing response and repair work.

More traffic officers on duty

Meanwhile, additional traffic officers are in place this weekend to help motorists navigate high-profile events in the downtown area while restoration work continues on the fire-damaged portion of the 10 Freeway, which is expected to reopen by Tuesday, officials said.

Caltrans issued an update on Saturday stating that the repairs are on track, with the freeway expected to open between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles interchange by Tuesday. There are more than 250 people working at the jobsite on 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Six recently installed cameras are providing live coverage of construction operations at fixthe10.ca.gov.

Bass announced Friday that additional traffic officers over the weekend will help alleviate congestion at the:

— USC vs. UCLA football game at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Saturday

— Los Angeles Kings at the Crypto.com Arena on Saturday

— Los Angeles Rams at So-Fi Stadium on Sunday

Repairs to the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles are moving faster than expected and all lanes are scheduled to reopen by next Tuesday “at the latest,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

— Los Angeles Lakers at the Crypto.com Arena on Sunday

— The L.A. Auto Show at the L.A. Convention Center Saturday and Sunday

Similar resources were also on hand for Friday’s Los Angeles Clippers game at Crypto.com Arena and the start of the L.A. Auto Show.

Bass earlier directed the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to make Commuter Express and DASH buses free to encourage commuters to use public transportation. She also requested an increase in the number of white-glove traffic officers in congested areas to assist commuters through busy intersections.

In addition, Bass said assistance would be available to downtown businesses impacted by the freeway closure.

“During this difficult time and beyond, my message is the same — Los Angeles stands with businesses,” the mayor said.

The assistance will include a micro-enterprise grant program, administrated by the city’s Economic Workforce and Development Department.

The grant deadline is Dec. 10.

A dedicated resource center for freeway closure issues has also been added to the existing Business Source Centers.

Information on these and other resources is available at emergency.lacity.gov.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the freeway will reopen with five lanes in both directions by Tuesday.

The original estimate for the repair work was three to five weeks, with officials saying structural repairs were needed not only on the freeway deck but on as many as 100 support columns that were damaged in an early morning fire last Saturday that erupted in a storage yard beneath the roadway.

Engineers later determined that the damage was not as extensive as originally feared.

“That is a significant improvement on the basis of our original timeline, three to five weeks,” Newsom said at a news conference Thursday at the construction site. “By Tuesday of next week, trucks, passenger vehicles in both directions will be moving again. And that is simply due to the extraordinary work again of the folks behind me.

“Things continue to move favorably in our direction,” he said. “That is not guaranteed. We still have chemical sampling that comes in on a daily basis, but the bridge structure itself seems to be in better shape than we anticipated.”

Newsom thanked workers “who have been working around the clock, we’re on track to open the 10 before millions of Angelenos hit the road for Thanksgiving.”

A beaming Bass proclaimed during the same news conference, “This is a good day in Los Angeles.”

“All of the stars have been aligned, been aligned on behalf of Angelenos,” she said.

Bass thanked commuters who have heeded warnings to avoid driving through the freeway closure area between Alameda Street and the East L.A. Interchange, noting that people opted to either stay home, find alternate routes or rely on mass transit to reach their destinations.

“The last few days have been difficult, but everybody has cooperated and I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you,” Bass said. “What a gift for Los Angeles to have right before a holiday to know your commute will be better.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

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