Stubborn Fire in Watts Apartment Leads to Near Collapse

Friday, April 17, 2015

Los Angeles Firefighters escaped injury Friday night, when the walls of a small apartment building began to collapse in the midst of a fierce firefight.   

The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 9:56 PM on April 17, 2015 to 9254 South Central Avenue in Watts, where crews arrived quickly to find heavy fire on the first floor of a small two-story apartment building. An aggressive and well-coordinated interior firefight continued for 23 minutes, until signs of structural compromise triggered a swift transition to defensive operations.

Seventy firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Ellsworth Fortman confined the fire to the 2,590 square-foot wood frame structure, extinguishing the stubborn flames in just 61 minutes. There were no injuries, and no residents proved in need of placement assistance.

Due to fire damage and structural compromise, the presence of smoke alarms and their functional status at the time of the fire could not be immediately determined. The 87 year-old building was not equipped with optional fire sprinklers.  

Inspectors from the City's Department of Building & Safety were called to examine the premises, and a private contractor later arrived to stablize the structure, which remained uninhabitable. 

Fire loss is still being tabulated. The cause of the greater alarm blaze remains under active investigation.

Dispatched Units: E65 RA865 RA65 E264 T64 E233 E33 T33 EM13 BC13 E14 RA864 DC22 T21 E221 E15 T3 E203 UR3 E5 UR88 BC4 E3 RA803 RA264 EM9 EM14 CM31 AR2 T63 E263 E12 T5 E205 E33 E21 

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