Firefighter in Critical Condition, 2 Others Hurt After Responding to Burning Commercial Building in Boyle Heights: LAFD

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Three firefighters were hurt while battling a massive fire at a commercial building in Boyle Heights that sent plumes of heavy smoke over the area on Wednesday afternoon.

The blaze started just before 1 p.m. in the 80-by-100-foot one-story building on 2881 E. Pico Blvd., the Los Angeles Fire Department said. A clothing warehouse called Passion Imports is listed under that address.

Some 150 firefighters were deployed to the site and managed to extinguish the flames  in about two hours, LAFD spokesman Erik Scott said.

He said at some point, the roof partially collapsed. While it was initially reported that four were hurt, the Fire Department later clarified that one firefighter fell through the burning roof and sustained "painful though non-life threatening burn injury," and that two others who rescued him were burned less severely.

"He immediately tried to lift himself from peril, and was quickly assisted in doing so by his colleagues," a news release from the Fire Department said.

They were all taken to the hospital, the first firefighter in critical condition and the other two in fair condition, Scott said. No other injuries were reported.

Arun Dutt, who identified himself to KTLA as the owner of Passion Imports, said a crew had been upgrading the lighting system when a short-circuit sparked a fire.  Workers grabbed fire extinguishers but the flames forced them to exit the business, he said. There were a little more than a dozen people inside, all of them accounted for, Dutt added.

The Fire Department said the warehouse was densely filled with combustible materials.

“We have lost everything," Dutt said.

Ignacio Garcia, who said he worked in a nearby building, told KTLA he heard an explosion and saw people coming out of the business.

Garcia said he heard an injured firefighter screaming.

Flames and smoke appeared to engulf the structure, but crews were able to contain the fire to half of the building before 1:30 p.m., Brian Humphrey with the Fire Department said.

Smoke was seen from miles away as firefighters on the ground and on ladder pipes hosed down the fire, preventing the flames to spread to nearby businesses.

Authorities said they did not suspect arson and were investigating a possible electrical malfunction.

Earlier, officials described the structure as 200 feet by 400 feet.

KTLA's Meghan McMonigle contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed some details of the incident. This post has been updated.

 

 

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