LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Crews continued their investigation Friday into the circumstances surrounding the cause of a Westlake area motel fire that injured six people on Christmas evening.
According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, firefighters were sent just after 6:00 p.m. Thursday to a greater alarm structure fire at the JJ Park Motel, located in the 1900 block of West 3rd Street.
Once on scene, crews found smoke showing from a second floor unit, located in the three-story residential motel building.
Those who were staying at the motel were seen trying to escape through second floor windows by climbing down bed sheets, which were tied together, or on human ladders of people standing on each others shoulders.
This immediately presented multiple challenges for firefighters, and additional resources were requested.
Firefighters explained they used a very aggressive attack when hearing reports that several people were possibly trapped inside of the building.
Multiple rescues, some to whom were wheelchair bound, were performed by several crews.
In total, six patients, between the ages of 28 to 73-years-old, were treated at the scene. Five of the victims were transported to hospitals; two of which were listed in critical condition due to burn and smoke inhalation. Their condition is unknown at this time.
Other firefighters laid hoses through the building, while some performed roof ventilation using chainsaws to cut holes over the fire, which allowed smoke, heat and flames to escape from the building.
About 100 firefighters were able to completely extinguish the flames in 21 minutes, authorities explained.
Crews reported that 25 units within the 135 unit motel were damaged by the fire, smoke and water.
At this time the fire has been ruled accidental, however, the investigation is ongoing.
“The fire originated in the kitchen of one second floor unit and is centered around the stove area,” said Senior Arson Investigator David Liske.