A resident of a Brentwood-area high-rise says he believes the fire may have started in an apartment that is rented out as an Airbnb.
Eric Kaya said the neighboring apartment on the seventh floor of the 25-story Barrington Plaza does not have an actual key, but a coded key, and “random people go in and out.”
Los Angeles Fire Department officials, however, said it appears that the fire, which is being investigated as suspicious, began on the sixth floor. Authorities also told the Los Angeles Times there was no indicated the blaze broke out in a unit being rented on Airbnb.
Thirteen people were injured in the blaze, including two firefighters, according to LAFD.
A fire broke out in the same building in Oct. 2013 and eight people were injured in that blaze, the L.A. Times reported.
Kaya said he, his wife and child were getting ready for the day about 8:30 a.m. when he could see dark smoke, and eventually fire, coming from the neighboring apartment.
He said he ran outside and repeatedly knocked on the door of the neighboring apartment, but no one answered.
By the time he returned to his own apartment, smoke had enveloped it. He said he was struggling to breathe.
Kaya grabbed his shoes and some of his belongings and ran down the stairs after his family had done the same.
He said he didn’t even have enough time to put his shoes on.
“I knew that if I stayed in there, I’d be dead,” Kaya said.
He said there are no sprinklers inside his apartment, and that he didn’t hear a fire alarm go off until he was running down the stairs.
Once outside he saw the man who was living in the neighboring apartment getting ready to jump out the window, after firefighters had prepared a tarp. But eventually he too was rescued by firefighters from the 7th floor.
Kaya also saw that the windows of his home, along with the adjacent apartment, were blackened.
“Everything in there is gone, totally,” Kaya said about his apartment.