Fire Tears Through Vacant 5-Story Building in Van Nuys

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Flames ripped through a vacant five-story office building in Van Nuys before firefighters got the blaze under control on Sunday, officials said.

The fire was first reported just after 4 p.m. at the boarded-up building at 7101 N. Sepulveda Blvd., according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. Flames quickly made their way onto all five floors.

"Firefighters are operating in a defensive manner using multiple heavy streams in attacking the fire from the building's exterior only," he said in a written statement. "No other buildings are threatened."

Officials evacuated an encampment of 50 to 100 homeless people from an adjacent parking lot "to prevent them from being injured by falling debris," Humphrey added.

More than 120 firefighters took part in the effort, managing to extinguish "the bulk" of the flames within 71 minutes, according to Humphrey. The fire was declared knocked down an hour and 43 minutes after it began.

"Specially trained and certified LAFD Urban Search and Rescue crews are preparing to enter and assess the building for structural integrity, so that they and their LAFD colleagues can perform a thorough and detailed assessment of the building to assure no victims or hazard remains," Humphrey said.

No injuries or missing persons were reported.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, and arson investigators were summoned to look over the scene.

"A building, in daylight, on Sepulveda, with fire on every floor, that’s not something you see every day," Los Angeles fire Assistant Chief Patrick Butlertold KTLA.

"First, that’s very suspicious," he said. "Secondly, a huge challenge for us."

Sepulveda Boulevard was shut down Vose Street and Sherman Way due to the fire and subsequent investigation and we expected to remain off-limits into the night.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the day on which the fire occurred. The article has been updated.

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