PICO RIVERA (CBSLA)   — At least 100 firefighters battled a huge fire that destroyed several floors of an apartment complex in Pico Rivera.

The fire went to three alarms, officials said. The fire was first reported around 4 p.m.

The apartment complex is in the 9100 block of Burke Street.

Smoke was seen for miles.

The fire was first reported in the attic of the structure. It quickly engulfed the first and second floors a block long.

A portion of the roof collapsed. Firefighters stood on the roof of an adjoining building to battle the blaze.

The building was “fully involved,” reported Stu Mundel in Sky9.

The LA County Fire Department said three people were taken to a hospital, including a firefighter who was treated and released.

No other serious injuries were reported.

CBS2’s Amy Johnson reported from the scene.

Residents told her the complex was made up of four apartment buildings.

She spoke to people who were home at the time the fire broke out. They told her the building was undergoing some kind of construction project, including cleaning of pipes.

Santos Medina said he went door-to-door knocking at apartments trying to alert people to get out. He only found one apartment with dogs barking but said he was unable to break the door down. The fate of the dogs is unknown.

An evacuation center for residents was set up at Rivera Park Recreation Center and Gymnasium, 9530 Shade Lane, Pico Rivera, 90660.

As of 9:15 p.m., several streets remained closed:

Slauson Avenue @ Bequette Avenue
Serapis Avenue @ Burke Street
Slauson Avenue @ Serapis Avenue
Serapis Avenue @ Burke Street
Burke Street  @  Bequette Avenue

KCAL9’s Tom Wait picked up the story for the KCAL 9 News at 10 p.m.

More than six hours after the huge blaze was first reported, firefighters were still putting out hot spots.

At least 41 of the building’s 140 units have been destroyed.

Dozens of families were displaced.

All residents could do was watch as firefighters tried to save as much as they could.

“The fire was going on,” said Aja Castillo, “so they ran out with what they had on their backs. And they were able to get Boy.” (Boy is her friend’s dog Her friend is already placed at the shelter.)

Many of the neighbors said they ran back to help others get out .Jessie Aguilar grabbed a fire extinguisher.

“I went up to the second floor,” he said, “and got a fire extinguisher, pulled a fire alarm and then ran to the third floor. The whole ceiling was already bubbling up and bits and pieces were coming down … but with the fire extinguisher, I couldn’t do much.”

A bright ray on a bleak day, strangers came to the nearby shelter and brought food, water and supplies to help those in need.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Los Angeles

Weather Team
Goldstein Tipline

Watch & Listen LIVE