‘Historic’ Los Angeles Building Fire Being Investigated As Arson Case

A 1.3 million sq. ft. building goes up in flames, shutting down two freeways and causing millions of dollar in damage.
Downtown Los Angeles Fire
Massive fire in downtown L.A. requires 250 firefighters to be extinguished. FOul Play suspected.|Photo by Eric Politzer (@epolitzerphoto)

Some foul play is suspected in a massive building fire that took more than 250 firefighters to extinguish in the early hours of Monday morning.

Although blazes “of this magnitude” are always treated as criminal fires, “it’s very rare for the entire building to be engulfed at once,” Capt. Jaime Moore told the Los Angeles Times.

The fire, which could be seen blazing from miles away, drastically impacted traffic during the Monday morning commute and left some freeway lanes closed well into the day.

Luckily, one fire station was almost directly across the street from the un-occupied building, and firefighters were on the scene almost immediately after the fire began, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz.

“This is a historic fire, what we as firefighters would call ‘a career fire,'” said David Ortiz, public information officer at the Los Angeles Fire Department told NBC News. “It’s huge. I really can’t remember a building fire this big and I have been with the department for 13 years.”

The Los Angeles Time reports:

The building had 1.3 million square feet of floor space, and officials said two-thirds of it was consumed by flames.

The bulk of the fire was put out in 90 minutes, but firefighters were continuing to deal with hot spots well into the morning, according to LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas.

According to Ortiz, the rapid spread of the fire was due to the wood-frame construction of the building along with the lack of fire any firewalls. He noted that the building’s two lower floors, which are made of concrete, are still standing.

The flames produced by the burning building, which took nearly an entire city block, melted freeway signs and damaged the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Intense heat from the blaze cracked at least 160 windows — each 10 feet high by 4 feet wide.

There were no injuries reported, however, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was on the scene to help arson investigators determine whether it was intentionally set.

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