Los Angeles on Fire, Freeways Shut Down: ‘It Looked Like a Bomb Had Just Exploded’

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The cause of the blaze was not yet known, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was on scene as well as an accelerant-sniffing dog to help arson investigators determine whether it was intentionally set.

The fire early today in downtown Los Angeles engulfed an area the size of a city block, closed freeways and roads, burst windows of nearby buildings and melted freeway signs.

“When they came out of the quarters they could see it was fully engulfed. It was a building under construction in the framing phase. Almost 1 million square feet and a city block.”

“It looked like a bomb had just exploded,” said L.A. fire Capt. Rick Godinez.

Flames could be seen for miles from the fire that broke out in the DaVinci apartment complex at about 1:20 a.m. The blaze closed roads and freeways, including the 110 North, which won’t open until at least 10 a.m., officials said.

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The blaze damaged nearby buildings, including one that houses city agencies.

“There are windows blown out all the way up the side of our building,”  said Building and Safety spokesman Luke Zamperini.

More than 250 firefighters battled the blaze at the apartment tower under construction in the 900 block of Fremont Avenue, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz said. The building had 1.3 million square feet of floor space, and officials said two-thirds of it was consumed by flames.

“First is shut down and Temple is shut down. Downtown is basically shut down.”

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.

There were no injuries reported. The cause of the blaze was not yet known, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was on scene as well as an accelerant-sniffing dog to help arson investigators determine whether it was intentionally set, said Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main. Read the rest of this entry »