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Echo Park Building Fire Under Investigation

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ECHO PARK (CBSLA.com) — A commercial building blaze that injured five firefighters was under investigation Wednesday, officials said.

The fire was first reported around 10 p.m. Tuesday at a three-story building, 1625 Palo Alto Avenue, in Echo Park.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze in just under two hours, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.

There were six businesses that had office space in the building, including two printing shops, a button maker, a janitorial service, a church and an auto-loan company.

“With the economy now, we are trying to cut down on everything, and we don’t have insurance at this time.” business owner Jorge Zepeda said of the printing shop he had operated the past 20 years.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but authorities say it may have been sparked in nearby brush and then spread to the building, eventually causing portions of the roof to collapse.

Investigators are looking into numerous possible causes, including the possibility that the fire was initially started intentionally to cook food or keep people warm at a nearby homeless encampment, which was destroyed.

Officials are trying to recover security camera video from the building to aid in the investigation.

“The fire progressed to a significant level, to where they had to draw back. They had structural collapse that was occurring, and they had to go to master streams, and those are our aerial ladders that shoot gallons of water,” Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Jamie Moore said.

The five injured firefighters were treated and returned to battle the fire.

No civilians were hurt.

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