KOREATOWN (CBS) — A pair of buildings in Koreatown caught fire Monday around 5:30 p.m. at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Berendo Street. No one was inside the first building at the time because it was under construction, but families in an adjoining apartment complex were forced to flee.
Asst. Chief Emile Mack from the Los Angeles Fire Department said when crews responded, they found the first structure filled with fire and smoke. Parts of the building collapsed as fire teams began to fight the blaze.
Joseph Pagon, who lives in a building next door, was one of several people who had to escape when their apartments started to catch fire.
“I (heard the) explosion and big smoke came out, but within seconds (I saw) flames go up right away,” Pagon said.
Maria Magana was able to grab her son and dog before running for safety.
“Me and my son are safe, and I don’t care about my things,” she said. “More important is the life of my son and whoever lives right there.”
Fire crews extinguished the blaze in about 30 minutes and continued cleaning up the scene into the evening.