A blaze erupted in a Downtown Los Angeles building, consuming the 2nd floor and attic while firefighters aggressively fought to save the businesses on the ground floor.
At 5:15PM on January 26, 2023 the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire in the 2800 block of W 7th Street. The incident began as a law enforcement operation with LAFD requested for standby. With smoke visible upon arrival of the LAFD engine, the fire captain quickly upgraded the incident to a structure fire response.
The two story, center hall building was built in the early 1920's. It is a mixed use structure with three commercial units on the first floor and eight (both commercial and residential) units on the 2nd floor.
In a matter of minutes, heavy fire was consuming the 2nd floor. This was an occupied building with residents or business owners possibly still inside therefore firefighters initiated an aggressive offensive operation. Fire attack entered the building and ascended to the 2nd floor but were met with extreme heat and heavy fire, forcing them to back off until the truck companies could perform vertical ventilation.
As the truck company cut multiple holes in the roof to vent the flames, heat and gases, conditions started to improve and fire attack gradually made their way forward. However, the fire extended up into the attic, necessitating more ventilation to ensure the interior fire attack crews were provided the safest environment possible to conduct their operation. The truck company continued cutting holes while moving back towards their ladder. Their dedicated efforts gave the necessary cover for firefighters inside the building to knockdown the fire.
While 2nd floor units were destroyed, salvage efforts by firefighters on the 1st floor helped to protect contents of the commercial units. Water and smoke caused damage, but not all was lost.
110 firefighters, working under the leadership of Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman, worked diligently against the blaze and achieved knockdown in 53 minutes. Their efforts preserved portions of the businesses on the 1st floor and defended adjacent structures from any damage despite massive flames billowing out the windows and off the roof. A Human Remains Detection K9 worked the scene after knockdown to ensure there were no victims trapped inside the building.
The Los Angeles Police Department took one adult male into custody and, in conjunction with LAFD Arson and Counter-Terrorism Section, are actively investigating the cause of the fire. The suspect was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The Mayor's Crisis Response Team and Red Cross responded to assist the 10 displaced persons with any immediate needs.