Two men were arrested for allegedly setting fire to a city-owned building in Riverside, causing millions of dollars in damages.
The two suspects, believed to be transients, were identified as 41-year-old Isaac Gutierrez Avila and 40-year-old Pasha Sadavandi, by the Riverside Police Department.
On May 16, firefighters responded to a three-alarm structure fire located at 3460 Orange Street around 4:46 a.m.
Crews discovered an unoccupied two-story building engulfed in smoke with fire coming from the roof. The entire first floor was boarded up, so firefighters forced open the boarded areas and “initiated an aggressive fire attack.”
Thirty-three firefighters, along with five engines, three ladder trucks, a rescue squad and more responded to battle the blaze.
“Almost 6 million gallons of water were used to mitigate this fire utilizing rotating engine crews for 16 hours straight,” said Riverside Fire.
Once the flames were extinguished, authorities said it took several days to complete an interior search as the building was unstable and smoldering areas existed within.
Investigators later identified the suspects involved and located them in the 2900 block of Iowa Avenue where they were taken into custody on Thursday.
Gutierrez was arrested on charges of arson and various misdemeanor warrants. He is being held on $50,000 bail. Sadavandi was arrested for accessory to arson and is being held on $25,000 bail.
The building is owned by the City of Riverside and has been torn down following the fire. Officials estimate the fire caused millions of dollars in damages.
The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information about the fire or the suspects should contact Fire Captain Ray Mendoza at 951-826-5640 or [email protected], or POP Officer Mike Smith at 951-826-8715 or [email protected].
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