‘Major emergency’ fire in downtown L.A. leaves century-old building in danger of collapse

Local news

Firefighters gained control of a “major emergency” fire at a 100-year-old commercial building in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday morning but are now concerned about a possible collapse.

The fire was reported about 1:50 a.m. near the intersection of South Los Angeles and East Third streets, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Firefighters arrived to find flames and explosions coming from the three-story, 23,790 square-foot building.

The building’s steel doors had been bowed out from the force of the explosions and debris from the fire forced a nearby homeless encampment to be evacuated.

Five businesses, including two believed to have sold smoke supplies, are located on the building’s first floor, the Fire Department stated in a news alert.

“A lot of these nitrous oxide compressed gas canisters are strewn about all over the place,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz said.

More than 150 firefighters arrived to put thousands of gallons of water per-minute on the blaze, which spread to all three floors and the roof of the building, Ortiz said.

It took the crews several hours to finally get the upper hand on the blaze, but crews had still not declared it a knockdown as of 7 a.m.

Officials red-tagged the structure over concerns the century-old building could collapse.

Residents living in a nearby retirement home were asked to shelter in place during the fire but did not need to evacuate, Ortiz said.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

Officials have not determined a cause of the fire.

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