One person died and a firefighter was injured, when a greater alarm fire destroyed a South Los Angeles furniture business Monday afternoon.
Firefighters arrived quickly to reports of a man trapped within a well involved 50' x 75' one story metal clad industrial building.
According to witnesses, the man and a colleague - described as employees at the steel chair manufacturing firm, ran into the burning building prior to the fire department's arrival, with the colleague retreating moments later - alone, from the smoke and flame charged structure.
As LAFD responders quickly began a defensive fire attack with heavy streams to prevent flames from spreading to nearby buildings, they commenced a simultaneous effort with hand tools and rotary saws to breach the metal clad building exterior, only to find it well fortified beneath the metal veneer.
Additional firefighters soon joined them in working from the accessible sides of the burning building to gain entry, extinguish flames and commence a primary search for the missing man, now believed to occupy a mezzanine area filled with flames, and blocked with toppled metal furniture storage.
During the fierce firefight and rescue effort, one LAFD Firefighter fell a short distance from a ladder. Assisted from the burning structure by colleagues, he was provided primary care at scene, before being taken by ambulance to an area hospital in fair condition for a formal medical evaluation.
The team of 117 firefighters contained the greater alarm fire to the building of origin, extinguishing stubborn flames in just 57 minutes.
As smoke cleared, firefighters began the arduous process of clearing large amounts fire debris and toppled storage, to commence a secondary search of the building. Within the hour, they discovered the remains of the missing adult male worker inside the burned building.
No other injuries were reported.
Volunteers from the Mayor's Crisis Response Team were summoned to assist scores of grieving co-workers and family members at the scene, and firefighters remained until early Tuesday morning to overhaul smoldering debris, physically assist the Coroner's staff and support the fire cause investigation by LAFD Investigators, who subsequently determined the fire to have been accidental in nature.
Due to severe fire damage, the presence of smoke alarms and other fire protection systems, and their functional status at the time of the fire was not immediately determined.
A positive identification of the dead man, as well as the cause, time and manner of his death will be established by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Dispatched LAFD Units: AR1 BC1 BC11 BC13 BC18 CE59 CM22 CM32 E14 E205 E21 E210 E215 E220 E221 E233 E264 E266 E33 E46 E57 E59 E60 E66 E85 EM13 HR3 PH1 RA246 RA257 RA266 RA5 RA833 RT59 SQ21 T10 T15 T20 T21 T33 T5 T64 T66 UR5 UR88 + LACoFD in Automatic Aid
Incident Photo Gallery (pending)