Downtown LA Firefighters Battle Intense Flames Fueled by Textiles

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Los Angeles City Fire Department battled a commercial blaze for hours, making sure it remained within the unit-of-origin amongst a row of commercial occupancies.

083023 - Downtown LA Firefighters Battle Intense Flames Fueled by Textiles

Early Wednesday morning, August 30, 2023, while returning to their fire station after a different emergency incident, LA City Firefighters discovered heavy smoke coming out of a commercial building, and were the first to report it to Metropolitan Fire Communications, where firefighter-dispatchers sent out a structure fire assignment to the 1100 block of South Los Angeles Street.

Firefighters immediately began fighting the fire, which burned for several hours, fueled by large quantities of textiles inside the business. Companies ascended aerial ladders to the roof and used chain saws to cut ventilation holes in the roof. As they worked, flames steadily grew, soon shooting out of the holes by 30+ feet. The intense flames, fueled by an extreme amount of fabric goods inside, soon drove firefighters back into defensive operations, where they fought the fire from the exterior.

Firefighters deployed master streams by way of large-diameter hand lines, ladder pipes, and portable monitors (ground appliance), which can launch up to 1,000 gallons per minute each. The intense fire conditions weakened the building over time. Eventually, the walls began buckling and the roof collapsed. Crews remained set up in their defensive posture, now awaiting assistance from LAFD Heavy Equipment and Thermite RS3, the firefighting "robot," while keeping the flames at bay and quenching any flare ups.

The building was a row of commercial occupancies. The fire unit measured 50-feet wide by 150-feet deep, and shared a wall with two adjacent business, one on each side. Although the fire unit will be a total loss, with nothing more that could have been done, over 120 on scene firefighters skillfully defended the neighboring units and prevented both of them from being infiltrated by the intense flames.

Thankfully, the fire occurred early in the morning, before patrons or employees typically populate these Fashion District buildings. No one was present to need evacuation, and there were no reported injuries. Fire investigators responded to begin their investigation process and attempt to determine a cause of the blaze.

Smoke could be seen rising from the rubble for a better part of the day. Crews finally called an official "Knockdown" of the fire nearly 12 hours later, at 7:23 PM. The last crews left the scene shortly after 10:30 PM.

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