Massive flames engulfed a commercial building in Hollywood Tuesday morning that was home to a Payless ShoeSource and several other businesses.
The two-story brick building caught fire at about 7:09 a.m. near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Western Avenue (map), according to Katherine Main of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Black smoke coming from the structure was visible from at least 15 miles away, KTLA’s Mark Kono reported as Sky5 was headed to the scene.
Massive flames were burning through the roof of the building and a nearby power pole appeared to have caught fire, aerial video from Sky5 showed.
Firefighters initially attacked the blaze from the perimeter of the building, dousing the flames from the ground and atop ladders.
As the firefight went on, white smoke began to rise from the building at about 8 a.m., aerial video from Sky5 showed.
Crews then began to battle the fire from inside, but went into defensive mode and evacuated the building after about 20 minutes, LAFD Deputy Chief Joseph Castro said at a news conference.
One of the concerns for firefighters was the possibility of the pre-1933 building collapsing, Castro said.
Firefighters continued to battle the flames from outside the building.
About 150 firefighters were dispatched to the blaze, which was knocked down after 1 hour and 39 minutes, Main said.
The fire apparently began in an electrical room and spread to the rest of the building, Main said.
The flames had burned close to a cellphone tower located on the roof of the building, video showed.
“The satellites, if they get damaged in any way, shape or form present a potential radiation hazard,” Battalion Chief Steve Ruda said.
A hazardous materials team came out later and put up monitors to ensure there was no leakage of hazardous radiation, Ruda said.
The building housed a Payless ShoeSource store and a restaurant, but it was unclear if the businesses were open when the fire started, Main said.
Signage from a gold and silver exchange shop and a cellular service store was also posted on the outside of the building, aerial video from Sky5 showed.
Santa Monica Boulevard was closed near Western Avenue while firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
The eastbound lanes of Santa Monica Boulevard near Western were expected to remain closed, possibly for up to 24 hours, while crews clean up and investigators work to determine the cause of the blaze.
No injuries were reported in the fire.