CULVER CITY (CBSLA) — A 99 Cents Only store in Culver City was gutted by a raging fire early Monday.
The fire broke out at about 1:45 a.m. at the store, 12717 Washington Blvd. More than 70 firefighters working to put out the fire at the store, which was closed at the time.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found the building fully engulfed in flames.
“We did find the fire outside of the building as well as up into power lines,” Los Angeles Fire Capt. Daniel Dobbs said. “The power wires did break and fall to the ground.”
The flames reaching nearby power and telephone lines contributed to an explosion that woke up neighbors and drew them outside to see what was happening. Dobbs said the explosion was a transformer popping at the top of a telephone pole.
After initially entering the building, firefighters were forced outside to battle the blaze from outside.
“We found very dense packed conditions, which is very common in these stores. Lots of product,” Dobbs said.
Small popping noises heard as the fire continued to burn apparently came from helium tanks used to inflate balloons and small propane tanks in the camping gear on the property.
No injuries have been reported. SoCal Edison were on the scene immediately to handle downed wires and the power outage.
Streets around Roosevelt and Washington were closed during the firefight and mop-up effort and drivers were advised to avoid the area.
Employees of the store will be transferred to other nearby stores for the time being, but the future of the burned out store is less certain. The store has been a staple in Culver City since the 90s, and is usually packed with customers.
“Oh my goodness, it is incredibly important. So many people I spoke to while I’ve been here told me they’ve been shopping here for years,” customer Norma Dalke said.
The store, and the rest of the businesses on the block, had been set to be demolished by the end of next year to make way for a condominium development.