LAFD Battles Major Emergency Fire in Building Under Construction

Monday, December 8, 2014

An early morning inferno destroyed a large apartment building under construction and severely damaged two nearby high-rise buildings. 

The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 1:20 AM on December 8th, 2014 to 906 North Fremont Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, where firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy fire showing from a 200' x 900' seven story building under construction. Two stories were concrete while the remaining 5 floors were exposed lumber.Distant view of Los Angeles skyline with very large fire visible.

The massive blaze could be seen from all over the city and 50 foot flames lengths caused the closure of all North bound lanes of the 110 Freeway.

250 Firefighters under the command of Deputy Chief Joseph Castro battled the fire defensively utilizing large hose streams from the ground and aerial ladders from above. The intensity of the flames quickly ignited several floors of a 16 story adjacent high-rise. Although Firefighters battled intensely, 221 North Figueroa was heavily damaged. Another building located at 313 North Figueroa threatened by fire was saved by the hard work of Firefighters.Huge wood framed structure ablaze.

The bulk of the fire was knocked down  in just over 90 minutes. Firefighters managed flair-up and worked with LAFD bulldozers for nearly 24 hours to fully extinguish the deep seeded smoldering lumber.

In the wake of this Major Emergency structure fire, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section requested the assistance of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) to aid in the cause investigation.

Due to the extensive damage and the significant monetary losses, the LAFD asked the ATF to activate the NRT. As a result, approximately 20 ATF agents and specialists will arrive in Los Angeles to join LAFD Arson investigators and local ATF special agents at the scene.

The investigation will begin when all Agencies and Investigators are present, it is anticipated this will be Wednesday December 10, 2014.  

UPDATE (December 9, 2014 at noon by Erik Scott):  Requested ATF agents who will assist LAFD Arson Investigators are expected to arrive Wednesday, Dec 10th, and will begin their investigation on Wednesday or Thursday. 

The LAFD is working with LA EMD and General Services to assist in the recovery of nearby damaged buildings, assisting persons to gain personal belongings, and business to restore operations. 313 North Figueroa St is open to the public. Access to 221 North Figueroa St can be made with with a building management escort. 
Firefighters are continuing to extinguish hotspots and a private company has been contracted to assist with demolition efforts to stabilize the structure. 
The building remains in the custody of the LAFD and LAPD is assisting with security. This has not been determined a crime scene, rather it is an investigative scene. After a thorough investigation, it will be determined if the fire was incendiary or accidental in cause. 
Anyone with information regarding the possible cause of this fire is encouraged to call the LAFD Arson Section at (213) 893-9850.
(LAFD is tracking #DTLAfire.)
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