LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Authorities say three men suffered severe second and third degree burns that they may have suffered in a possible arson fire in South Los Angeles were hospitalized in critical condition Friday.

An explosion and fire in a garage at 846E 76th Place was reported at 2:31 a.m., according to fire department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart. One of three men, all of whom were believed to be between 35 and 40, was found at the scene of the fire, she said. He was taken to a hospital with second and third degree burns over most of his body and was listed in critical condition.

The fire was knocked down in 13 minutes by 44 firefighters who were dispatched to the scene, Stewart said.

The two other men with second and third degree burns who also may have been involved were found at a different location, a couple of miles north of the fire site, Stewart said. The two men were picked up as a result of a “medical emergency call” made to the fire department and were rushed to a hospital in critical condition.

None of the three men would talk to authorities, according to the fire department.

Los Angeles Fire Department arson investigators were at the scene of the fire.

“We don’t know yet what we’re dealing with,” said Los Angeles police Lt. Gordon Olson, watch commander at 77th Division. “We don’t yet know if this is an arson fire or a drug lab that exploded or something else.”

“There was an explosion at the scene of the fire and LAFD arson investigators are there now,” Olson said early this morning. “We’re trying to sort out what happened, who these men are, if they are all involved and who will take the lead if this becomes a criminal investigation.”

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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