A convicted arsonist pleaded not guilty Friday to setting a blaze in a Garden Grove apartment complex in which three people were hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

Daniel Kekaila Kauwe was charged Thursday with a felony count of arson of an inhabited dwelling, a felony count of arson with a prior conviction for arson and a misdemeanor count of failing to register as a convicted arsonist.

After Kauwe’s arraignment Friday in the jail courtroom of Santa Ana, he was ordered to return to court for a pretrial hearing in the West Justice Center in Westminster on Oct. 7.

Kauwe was nude when he was arrested at the scene of the Sept. 7 fire, which originated in his apartment, said Garden Grove Police Department Lt. Carl Whitney.

Kauwe pleaded guilty in November 2015 to an arson in Santa Ana, according to court records.

Firefighters responded to the 13100 block of Chapman Avenue, near Haster Street, at 2 a.m., where they located the fire and helped evacuate residents, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

A total of seven people sustained smoke inhalation and three were taken to a hospital, the OCFA said.

“A suspicious naked male was located in a stairwell of the apartment complex during the evacuation,” Garden Grove Police Department Sgt. Mark Lord said. “The subject was bleeding from a laceration to his arm and was uncooperative with officers.”

The man, who lived in the complex, was arrested on suspicion of obstruction of police and a probation violation and was taken to an area hospital for his injury, Whitney said.

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