A 2-year-old was rescued from a burning apartment building in Torrance early Thursday morning in a fire that authorities said was intentionally set by the toddler's father.
Fire crews and officers responded to the fire in the 16700 block of Crenshaw Boulevard around 12:15 a.m. and saw that a portion of the four-unit apartment complex was "fully engulfed in flames," according to Sgt. Robert Watt of the Torrance Police Department.
A woman who lived in the apartment where the fire was the worst was standing in front of the building when crews arrived and told them that her 2-year-old was still inside.
Firefighters and officers went into the building and recovered the child, who was treated for smoke inhalation and is now stable and listed in fair condition at a hospital, Watt said.
The three other units in the building were also evacuated and police learned that the man who allegedly set the fire is the ex-boyfriend of the woman and is the child's father.
Watt said it was the result of "a domestic dispute that started verbally on Christmas Day."
Police believe that after that fire was set. the arson suspect, identified by authorities as 19-year-old Asa James Dolak, went to the home of a relative in the 3200 block of Opal Avenue "and set that house on fire as well" around 2 a.m. and then fled.
"Arson investigators are at both locations and this is an arson investigation and we believe he intentionally tried to torch and burn down both locations," Watt said.
Police continue to search for Dolak. He is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is urged to call Torrance police at (310) 328-3456.
Police were able to have a phone conversation with Dolak after the arsons and he told them that he was unhappy with his family, unhappy with officers and "would seriously injure anyone that attempted to make contact with him," Watt said.
He is wanted on two counts of arson and one count of attempted murder.