Arsonist who torched L.A. apartment complex sentenced to 15 years in prison

Arsonist who torched L.A. apartment complex sentenced to 15 years in prison
Image: NBC News video screen grab

A 58-year-old man pleaded no contest to arson of a downtown Los Angeles apartment complex and was immediately sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Dawud Abdulwali also was ordered to pay restitution, which is expected to approach $100 million, in what authorities said was one of LA County’s largest structure fires.

The fire “could have burned down half of Los Angeles if it had moved to other buildings,” the judge said in handing down a 15-year term. “It was very dangerous.”

The Da Vinci apartment complex was under construction in downtown Los Angeles at the time the 2014 blaze, fueled by gasoline spread on its fourth floor, was set. The fire spread quickly over the seven-floor wood frame structure and sent thick, black smoke over the nearby 110 Freeway, which was shut down for the morning drive.

Freeway signs melted and nearby buildings also were damaged. The heat was so intense, it shattered about 160 windows in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power headquarters building.

Abdulwali was arrested in May 2015. He entered a plea of no contest to using an accelerant and causing damages in excess of $3.2 million.

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