Crews were unable to locate the remains of a man who lived in a Mount Washington home destroyed by a fire, the Los Angeles Fire Department said Thursday.
The blaze that broke out at a residence in the 4000 block of Sea View Avenue on Oct. 20 led to a seven-day search for one of its 12 residents, identified only as an 84-year-old man. The missing man was initially identified as the owner of the home, but LAFD said the three-story hillside home had been in foreclosure and was recently sold.
The man was last seen by fellow tenant Daniel Nateras, who told KTLA he had heard what sounded like a large explosion when the fire broke out, and when he went to warn the 84-year-old to escape, he instead ran into his bedroom.
“I was on the same floor as my landlord. … He turned around and went back into his room and I never saw him again,” Nateras said.
One 74-year-old woman was treated for smoke inhalation but was otherwise in good condition, according to LAFD. A 32-year-old tenant escaped through a first-floor window with her dog with the help of firefighters but declined transportation to the hospital, officials said.
LAFD used urban search and rescue teams as well as cadaver dogs to examine the rubble of the 9,100 square-foot home, the agency said. Fire personnel will continue to investigate the cause of the fire and the possibility of arson.
LAFD spokesman David Ortiz had previously told KTLA cadaver dogs picked up the scent of human remains last Friday, the day after the fire.
“All three dogs alerted at the same location where it was believed that the gentleman who is missing used to sleep,” Ortiz said.
More than 150 fire personnel responded to the Oct. 20 fire, which took nearly three hours to extinguish, according to LAFD. The blaze, which began in on the second subterranean level of the descending hillside home, spread to all its three levels within an hour, authorities said.