LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A fire destroyed a 7-story apartment building under construction and damaged two others early Monday morning in downtown.
The fire was reported around 1:20 a.m. at the 1.3-million-square-foot Da Vinci apartments, located at 906 N. Fremont Avenue, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
More than 250 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, including crews from nearby Fire Station 3.
“They literally opened the door to see an entire city block with fire showing,” Cpt. Jamie Moore said.
Crews attacked the wood-burning fire, which could be seen from across the city, from the ground and the Harbor Freeway.
The collapse of scaffolding and the structure’s wooden frame forced the closure of northbound Harbor (110) Freeway to the northbound 101 Freeway until 10 a.m. The northbound 110 Freeway to the southbound 101 remained partially closed until further notice.
“More than two-thirds of that occupancy was on fire causing significant exposure issues to two nearby high-rise buildings,” LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said.
A 15-story Los Angeles County Health Department building, located at 313 Figueroa Street, suffered radiant heat damage, while a 16-story high-rise at 221 Figueroa Street had “active fire on three floors of that building and sprinkler activation on six floors,” Chief Terrazas said.
Authorities closed the 221 Figueroa building for business Monday and established a help line at 1-800-882-1482.
“We had a bulk of the fire knocked down in 90 minutes,” he added.
No injuries were reported and damages were estimated to be more than $10 million.
The owner of 245-unit Da Vinci Complex, Geoff Palmer, released a statement regarding the fire:
“We would like to thank the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department for their bravery, swift actions, and effective response in putting out the fire. We understand that the cause of the fire is under investigation and we defer all such questions regarding cause directly to the LAFD. Though we have temporarily lost Building B, we will be opening Building A across the street at the end of January to those families looking forward to occupying their new home.”
The cause is under investigation by a joint effort by LAFD and LA Co. Fire arson teams and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
One of the buildings damaged, which housed the city’s Department of Aging at 221 N. Figueroa Street, lost about 2,000 holiday gift bags for seniors as a result of the fire.
“What we saw was all of our gifts under about 2 inches of water. Some of our gifts were impacted by the heat from the fire,” Dept. of Aging spokesperson Laura Trejo said.
“It means a lot because often times we are the only persons that come into their homes during the holiday season bringing cheer, bringing gifts and I think more important than anything is reminding them that we remember them, that people in the community care,” she added.