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Man dies in fire in makeshift home in South Los Angeles

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A man died early Sunday when he was unable to escape a fire in his makeshift home in an auto repair shop in South Los Angeles, authorities said

Los Angeles firefighters were summoned to the 8000 block of S. San Pedro Street at 1:36 a.m. when a passerby noticed smoke pouring from the one-story building, according to Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Crews forced their way into the well-secured building to battle flames fed by "pack-rat" conditions.  Inside, they found a man who had no pulse and was not breathing. They carried him out of the burning building but were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A small area of the building had been converted into a living space, but it had no smoke alarms or fire sprinklers. The security door had a deadbolt lock that required a key on both sides, a feature not permissible in residential settings, Humphrey said.

Firefighters put out the blaze in 13 minutes. Cause of the fire is under investigation.  The coroner will determine the identity and cause of death of the victim, Humphrey said.

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jean.merl@latimes.com

Twitter: @jeanmerl

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