Crews douse 2 large fires in Los Angeles

2014-12-08 20:44
A massive fire engulfing an apartment building construction site near downtown Los Angeles. (Nancy Yuille, AP)

A massive fire engulfing an apartment building construction site near downtown Los Angeles. (Nancy Yuille, AP)

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Los Angeles - Two raging fires in Los Angeles destroyed a massive residential complex under construction, heavily damaged a building undergoing renovations, and snarled rush hour traffic while raining ash over a large area early on Monday.

More than 250 firefighters fought a downtown blaze that was sparked at a block-long construction site around 01:20, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said. Flames visible for miles consumed the 7-story wood-framed structure and damaged two adjacent high-rises before being brought under control within 90 minutes.

"The radiant heat was strong enough to burst windows in one building next door," Battalion Chief Joseph Castro said.

Three floors of that adjacent building were damaged by fire and several other floors sustained water damage. The building, which houses city offices, was closed for the day.

Embers spewed from the fire landed across a freeway, igniting brush and charring a traffic sign. But fortunately winds were light and did not blow the fire even farther.

Portions of US Route 101 and Interstate 110 were shut down for a time over fears that debris might fall into lanes. The northbound 110 remained closed after sunrise, as commuter traffic backed up for miles.

No injuries were reported. The burned structure was planned to be a residential building. The site was still smouldering by midmorning and downtown was littered with ash.

Shortly after 04:00 another large fire was reported at a mixed-use building about 3km to the west. More than 100 firefighters from multiple agencies responded and had the flames under control in less than two hours, according to Chief Deputy Mario D Rueda.

There were no indications the two incidents were connected, Terrazas said.

Read more on:    us  |  fires

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