Arson caused $30 million downtown Los Angeles fire

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Historic Blaze in Downtown Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A fire that reduced an unfinished downtown apartment building to a block-long mountain of blackened wood was an act of arson that caused an estimated $20 million to $30 million in damage, the Fire Department announced Thursday.

The Dec. 8 fire burned the seven-story, 1.3-million-square-foot Da Vinci complex.

Investigators from the Fire Department and a national response team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sifted through 75,000 square feet of debris to find the cause, a Fire Department statement said.

Investigators "recovered sufficient evidence to eliminate all known potential accidental causes and determine the fire was intentionally set," the statement said. Potential evidence will be submitted to the ATF's national laboratory for analysis.

Details weren't being released because the investigation continues, but authorities are seeking two people who were seen in video near the scene the morning of the fire.

The men aren't considered suspects or persons of interest, but investigators want to interview them, the Fire Department said.

Heat from the blaze was so intense that it melted a sign on a nearby freeway and cracked or shattered hundreds of windows in office buildings, including the city Department of Water and Power headquarters a block away.

The fire set off sprinklers in offices of the city's Department of Aging, ruining 2,000 holiday gift bags that contained items such as socks, toiletries and blankets to be distributed to senior citizens.

However, a fundraising drive begun by Amy Elaine Wakeland, the wife of Mayor Eric Garcetti, raised enough money to not only replace the packages but to pay for gifts for all 4,500 seniors who receive meals delivered to their homes under a Department of Aging program.

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Los Angeles Apartment Fire
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Arson caused $30 million downtown Los Angeles fire
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 27: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (R) addresses the media outside of City Hall East on May 27, 2015 in Downtown Los Angeles, California. Garcetti discussed the arrest of Dawud Abdulwali, 56, of Los Angeles, a suspect in the Da Vinci apartment complex fire. Also pictured are Special Agent in Charge at ATF Carlos Canino (2nd L) and LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas (3rd L). (Photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

An aerial perspective of the blaze from a distance.

Photo Credit: Lawrence

A likely unprecedented reward of $170,000 was slated to be offered in the investigation into a massive fire that destroyed an apartment complex under construction in downtown Los Angeles, officials announced Wednesday.

Smoke filters to the sky in the early morning hours as remnants of the blaze are extinguished by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Photo Credit: Patrick Lawler

Embers raise from surrounding buildings during the downtown blaze.

Photo Credit: Mama_Cho

Fire and ember consume the skies as the quickly moving blaze consumed the building.

Photo Credit: Derrick Huey

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Early morning sunlight slants through the smoldering ruins of a seven-story apartment building under construction that was destroy by fire on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Early morning sunlight slants through the smoldering ruins of a seven-story apartment building under construction that was destroy by fire on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: The ruins of a seven-story apartment building under construction that was destroy by fire smolder alongside the 110 freeway on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters hose down the smoldering ruins of a seven-story apartment building under construction alongside the 110 freeway that was destroy in an early morning fire on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Aftermath of this morning's apartment fire along the 110...from above http://t.co/M3fb6UlWOf
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: A jet taking off from LAX passes a lone standing staircase in the smoldering ruins of a seven-story apartment building under construction that was destroy in an early morning fire on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Workers toss a sign over the 110 freeway that was ruined in an early morning fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Northbound lanes of the 110 freeway remain closed as Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Northbound lanes of the 110 freeway remain closed as firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning computers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Firefighters douse the remains of a fire that destroyed an apartment complex that was under construction, in downtown Los Angeles, California, December 8, 2014. A pair of massive fires burst across the Los Angeles skyline early Monday, damaging four buildings and closing down freeways during the morning commute. No injuries were reported but the flames near a downtown freeway interchange could be seen for miles and billowing clouds of smoke closed down adjacent highways in two directions. City fire officials were unable to give an immediate cause for the blaze, which severely damaged a seven-story apartment building that was under construction. Damage to the structure appeared to be nearly total. Flames spread for a whole city block, nearly a million square feet, officials said. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters douse flames at the remains of the DaVinci apartment complex after a fire destroyed the 1 million square foot site, in Los Angeles, California, December 8, 2014. A pair of massive fires burst across the Los Angeles skyline early Monday, damaging four buildings and closing down freeways during the morning commute. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters douse the remains of a fire that destroyed an apartment complex that was under construction, in downtown Los Angeles, California, December 8, 2014. A pair of massive fires burst across the Los Angeles skyline early Monday, damaging four buildings and closing down freeways during the morning commute. No injuries were reported but the flames near a downtown freeway interchange could be seen for miles and billowing clouds of smoke closed down adjacent highways in two directions. City fire officials were unable to give an immediate cause for the blaze, which severely damaged a seven-story apartment building that was under construction. Damage to the structure appeared to be nearly total. Flames spread for a whole city block, nearly a million square feet, officials said. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters mop up a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Firefighters battle a fire that destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning computers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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