Arson ruled as preliminary cause of massive fire that shut down Los Angeles’ 10 freeway

A massive fire in a storage area that shut down a stretch of the major Interstate 10 freeway in Los Angeles was preliminarily found to be arson, the governor said.

The fire, which broke out early Saturday, has been called a crisis in Los Angeles, which had traffic problems long before they were aggravated by the closing of the stretch of I-10 south of downtown.

Investigators believe there was “malicious and willful intent of starting a fire,” California State Fire Marshal Daniel Berlant said at a news conference.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the preliminary determination is “that this fire occurred within the fence line of the facility you see behind me, that it was arson, and that it was done and set intentionally.”

The investigation into who is responsible continues, officials said.

The stretch of the freeway, from near Boyle Heights and running west, might have to be demolished and replaced. Over 100 columns were damaged, Newsom said, around nine or 10 of them severely.