UPDATED: Tough Structure Fire in Hollywood Has Firefighters Fleeing Second Floor

They were ordered to get out of the second floor and off the roof and assume a defensive posture, battling the blaze from the exterior.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Originally posted at 8:22 a.m. May 6, 2014. Edited with new details.

A fire destroyed a two-story building housing several businesses in Little Armenia today, and though firefighters said the cause was undetermined, it was also called accidental and unintentional.

The building on Santa Monica Boulevard at Western Avenue housed a Payless Shoe store, a gold-buying shop, a cell phone store and a dental office. On the roof was a Verizon cell tower installation.

A damage estimate was not immediately available.

Firefighters at the scene said the 7:10 a.m. blaze, which burned for an hour and 39 minutes, may have started in a second-floor electrical room.

But Katherine Main of the fire department later said "the cause was declared to be undetermined, accidental in nature and unintentional."

Main said investigators had not pinpointed where the fire started, in part because part of the building collapsed.

About 150 firefighters were assigned to the blaze, she said.

LAFD Deputy Chief Joseph Castro called the un-reinforced masonry building a total loss.

A Verizon cell tower on the roof concerned firefighters, but it survived the blaze, Main said.

The first wave of firefighters dispatched were expelled from the building because of the heat and flames and, once the flames broke through the roof, firefighters went into a defensive "surround and drown" mode.

Firefighters used ladder trucks to keep the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings.

--City News Service


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