Body Found in Burning Apartment near L.A.'s Chinatown

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A fire in an apartment near Chinatown took the life of one person Tuesday morning.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was notified at 7:32 AM on November 15, 2016 of a structure fire at 939 West College Street in the Victor Heights neighborhood northwest of Chinatown, where firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy fire showing from one first floor unit of 22,677 square foot, 29 unit four story courtyard-style apartment building of three occupied floors over parking.

Eighty-two firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Mark Curry confined the fire to apartment of fire origin, extinguishing the flames in just 27 minutes.

While extinguishing the inferno, firefighters discovered human remains within the heavily damaged apartment. As they cordoned off the common area of the apartment building, one neighbor came forward to be examined by paramedics for smoke exposure. That person, in minimal distress, later declined treatment or transportation.

During the several hour overhaul of the burnt apartment and support of the LAFD investigation, one firefighter sustained a minor, unspecified injury. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was released following initial care.

The apartment of fire origin was determined to have a functional smoke alarm at the time of the fire, which like neighboring units, was sounding loudly on firefighter's arrival. There were no immediately obvious factors or information to explain why the deceased person was unable to exit the premises. The 44 year-old building did not feature optional fire sprinklers.

A positive identification of the deceased person, as well as the cause, time and manner of their death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.

Fire loss to the premises is still being tabulated, though LAFD responders prevented more than $606,000 in property loss to the remaining units. The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.


Dispatched Units: E203 E3 T3 RA3 RA803 E220 T20 E4 E201 T1 SQ21 BC1 BC711 BC722 RM2 E211 T11 E9 CM22 E35 E250 T50 EM1 HR56 T27 E227 E27 UR27 RA27 RA827 UR88 BC5 RA20 RA820 EM11 EM13 RA4 AR1 CM21 AR17 AR37 AR9 RA804 EM13 RA3


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