Dramatic video shows frightening images of a resident desperately clinging to the window outside of an apartment building in West Los Angeles and a firefighter close by on a ladder working to rescue him as fire and smoked ripped through the high-rise Wednesday morning.
Residents began to flee the building around 8:37 a.m. when the blaze broke out on the sixth floor in one of three buildings at the Barrington Plaza complex, located at 11740 Wilshire Blvd., the Los Angeles Fire Department reported.
Images show the man clinging with his hands and feet to the window on the exterior of the building on the sixth or seventh floor, as massive amounts of black smoke billowed out of the apartment building. The man was ultimately brought down safely by the firefighter, according to a video posted to Twitter.
“When we arrived on scene, we did have an individual on a balcony that looked as if they were threatening to jump due to the heat and the flame behind him,” LAFD spokesman Erik Scott said. “Our firefighters immediately got on their public address loud speakers, were able to calm that individual down, and we were able to place an aerial ladder up there and have an effective rescue.”
While the rescue was taking place, residents and witnesses were filled with angst as they watched from below.
"I was just hoping the guy like held on. There's just a few more seconds firefighters were yelling to hold on, almost there and, luckily, he held on long enough for him to be rescued," said Eli, who witnessed the rescue.
Cindy Silva, a resident who lives on the sixth floor, shot video of the man being rescued, and said it was terrifying.
"He was super calm but the fire was all around him," said Silva, who was still shaken when she spoke to KTLA. "I am still nervous remembering it."
Eli said before LAFD arrived on scene, he moved couches in place to try and cushion the fall in the event that the man would have let go.
"I was just trying to do whatever I can to try and soften the guy's fall," Eli said. "I did whatever I could, luckily and that didn't have to be the case because the firefighters came in."
LAFD confirmed no one jumped from the high-rise during the fire.
LAFD said 13 people were injured, including two firefighters. Two civilians were transported to the hospital in critical condition.
Many others residents were displaced, but the exact amount was unknown.
More than 300 hundred firefighters battled the blaze, which was being investigated as "suspicious," according to LAFD.
The apartment building was built in 1961. LAFD said it was the site of another destructive fire that partially burned the building in 2013.
The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the Westwood Recreation Center, located at 1350 South Sepulveda Blvd.