A man was arrested Thursday for allegedly starting a two-alarm fire that engulfed a three-story oceanfront home under construction in Hermosa Beach and damaged four other nearby homes before it was extinguished.

The fire, which resulted in the evacuation of a half-dozen residents, was reported shortly before 2 a.m. in the 800 block of The Strand and was extinguished in about an hour, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.

Michael Christopher Kotva, 27, was detained near the fire scene and was later booked on suspicion of arson, officials said.

“It’s not unusual for someone to possibly stick around in an arson case,” county fire Inspector Brian Stevens told ABC7.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury, and was treated at a hospital, Stevens said.

County firefighters were assisted by personnel from the Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and Redondo Beach fire departments.

“We thank our Los Angeles County firefighters for their quick response and our neighboring cities for their assistance,” said Hermosa Beach Mayor Stacey Armato. “Our hearts go out to the families whose homes were damaged, and our team will be working with them to determine the safety of their homes. City staff will also be working with the contractor at the home construction site to determine what is needed to secure that site.”

Anyone with information about the fire was urged to contact county fire Arson Investigator Randy Brown at 323-855-0070 or randyd.brown@fire.lacounty.gov.

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