A dramatic fire that engulfed and destroyed an apartment building in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles -- damaging at least one other structure -- may have been intentionally set, according to a witness at the scene.
The fire was reported about 2:11 a.m. at a four-story building in the 600 block of South Bonnie Brae Street, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Amy Bastman.
Although the building was described as vacant, officials said the structure was often occupied by transients.
Mia Sinclair, who told KTLA she lived in the building with some of her family members, said a man intentionally set the fire.
“He told us if we value our lives that we need to either get out or burn in hell,” Sinclair said.
She said she didn’t take the man seriously but now wishes she had.
“I don’t know where anybody is,” Sinclair said of her family members.
Cadavers dogs were used to search the scorched complex after more than 150 firefighters put out the blaze. A neighboring two-story apartment building was burned as well.
A nearby convalescent home was evacuated during the firefight.
After about an hour and a half, firefighters had extinguished the flames, Bastman said. Arson investigators were sent to the scene.