Fire engulfs top floors of L.A. commercial building; people rescued

Firefighters rescue people trapped inside a burning building in the Westlake district of Los Angeles

A fire ripped through part of a commercial building near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, briefly trapping two people inside an office until firefighters made a rescue, authorities said.

The blaze erupted about 7:45 p.m. on the fifth floor of a six-story building in the 1500 block of West Olympic Boulevard, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Flames burst through the roof after spreading through the southwest corner of the building, which was constructed in 1966 and lacked a sprinkler system, fire officials said.

At the peak of the blaze in the Westlake neighborhood, 170 firefighters were at the scene, and the Fire Department deployed about six retractable ladders to rescue anyone stranded inside the building, Humphrey said. At least two people were shown on video footage climbing down from the building.

At least one person was injured, but officials said his medical condition was not life-threatening, and no further details were available.

The fire continued to burn for more than an hour, sending plumes of smoke skyward that were illuminated by the lights of television helicopters. Shortly after 9 p.m., the blaze was fully extinguished, Humphrey said.

What started the fire was not yet known and investigators were surveying the building to determine the extent of the damage.

The 66,000-square-foot building has several tenants, according to public records, including an international college, law firm, accounting firm, ad agency, court reporting service and a chiropractic practice.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

10:07 p.m.: Updated with the fire being fully extinguished.

9:04 p.m.: Updated with the report of one injured person.

8:45 p.m.: Updated with condition of the fire and the number of firefighters battling the blaze.

This story was originally published at 8:39 p.m.

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