LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Officials say one person is dead and several others had to be rescued from a major fire in a two-story office building near downtown Los Angeles.

City fire spokesman Brian Humphrey says nearly 150 firefighters have had to assume a defensive position because of the heavy flames burning at the building on W. 8th and Hoover streets in the Westlake District on Tuesday night.

It took firefighters close to two hours to put out the massive fire, which broke out at about 7 p.m. in a medical building that was officially vacant, but there were reports of people inside. About three were rescued by firefighters while one was killed.

The injured were initially treated at the scene by paramedics. Two people were taken to the hospital, including a man police were classifying as a person of interest.

It’s possible, authorities said, that the individuals inside the building were living there.

“Sometimes when I came to work around 9 or 10 p.m., homeless entering and exiting the building,” said Carlos Hernandez, who lives in an apartment near the building that caught fire. Because of the smoke, he says he and others voluntarily evacuated.

No firefighters were injured.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)