LA police detain person of interest in Griffith Observatory brush fire; no arrest yet announced

Fire near Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles contained at around 6 acres

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A person of interest has been taken into custody in Los Angeles after fire crews contained a massive blaze initially categorized as a major emergency burning near the historic Griffith Observatory. 

The Los Angeles Police Department has detained a person of interest in connection to the massive fire that burned about six acres and prompted a response of 93 firefighters, FOX 11 Los Angeles reported. No information was released about the individual being questioned but not yet under arrest. 

The blaze was first reported around 2:43 p.m. Tuesday by N. Nottingham Avenue, south of the observatory near the Boy Scout Trail, a popular hiking trail in Griffith Park. 

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Smoke from a brush fire rises between homes and the Griffith Observatory in the hills of Los Feliz in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. 

Smoke from a brush fire rises between homes and the Griffith Observatory in the hills of Los Feliz in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

It was declared a major emergency after spanning about four acres, KABC reported. 

Firefighters arrive at the Griffith Observatory during a brush fire in the hills of Los Feliz in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. 

Firefighters arrive at the Griffith Observatory during a brush fire in the hills of Los Feliz in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Air and ground fire units managed to stop forward movement at about six acres across the dry brush around 4 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported. Nearly all active flames had been eliminated after roughly one hour and twelve minutes, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement. 

Firefighters spray water on hot spots during a brush fire near the Griffith Observatory in the hills of Los Feliz in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. 

Firefighters spray water on hot spots during a brush fire near the Griffith Observatory in the hills of Los Feliz in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The fire happened when Griffith Observatory was closed to the public Tuesday according to its normal hours. Staff were evacuated, and park rangers assisted by directing hikers away from the trail.

No homes were ordered to evacuate, and no injuries have been reported. KTLA reported that the fire remains under investigation by LAPD and LAFD's arson team.

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Griffith Observatory, located on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin including downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. First opened in 1935 and fitted with a state-of-the-art 75-foot diameter plaster dome, the observatory is credited with pioneering programs on space travel, while also developing special effects capabilities for Hollywood productions of stories about other worlds, according to its website.