‘Major Emergency Fire’ Burns After Pallet Yard Catches Fire in Downtown L.A.

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More than 180 firefighters responded to a “major emergency fire” burning in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday evening after flames erupted at a pallet yard.

A pallet yard caught fire in downtown L.A. on July 23, 2016. (Credit: Bao Vo)

A pallet yard caught fire in downtown L.A. on July 23, 2016. (Credit: Bao Vo)

Six buildings were affected and one was a "total loss," Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

When firefighters arrived after being called to  748 S. Ceres Ave. at 6:51 p.m., an outside pallet fire was fully involved. Surrounding buildings were exposed to flames.

Firefighters were forced into defensive mode at one building and they tried to save other structures.

The building that was a total loss was expected to continue to burn overnight. Full of textiles, the building was unstable and unsafe to enter, Stewart said.

"The pallet yard is completely gone," said Firefighter David Ortiz on scene. "No firefighter injuries as of now, but we do have a lot of firefighters that are spent, pretty tired."

The blaze came on a day when downtown L.A. saw record-tying heat for the date, with a high of 97 degrees. Smoke and ash cast a pall over the area from the 20,000-acre Sand Fire burning about 27 miles to the north-northwest.

Firefighters battle a commercial structure fire in downtown L.A. on July 23, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

Firefighters battle a commercial structure fire in downtown L.A. on July 23, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

Photos and video posted to social media showed smoke rising above downtown buildings, and one user initially reported hearing explosions.

The Fire Department urged people to avoid Ceres Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets. The immediate area, south of Skid Row and the Arts District, is largely industrial with some housing.