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2 people rescued from burning roof in Ladera Heights are sought

2 people rescued from burning roof in Ladera Heights are sought
A firefighter aims water at the remains of a fire at a vacant car dealership that took just under three hours to knock down Monday. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A fire that broke out at a two-story vacant car dealership at the edge of Ladera Heights early Tuesday morning -- trapping two people on the roof -- is "suspicious in nature," authorities said.

The fire began at about 2:25 a.m. in the 5200 block of West Centinela Avenue near the border of Westchester. Firefighters who arrived on the scene had to rescue two people who may have been homeless and stuck on the roof, said Katherine Main of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

After they were rescued, the two people disappeared, Main said. Investigators were still trying to track down those two people and interview them.

"They took off after they were rescued," Main said. "At some time they must have walked away."

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The blaze at the dealership was "stubborn," according to LAFD officials. It took about 140 firefighters just under three hours to knock it down.

Main said another factor that could make the fire suspicious is that there was another blaze, though much smaller, at the vacant car dealership about a month ago.

Nevertheless, she said, "we can't jump to conclusions that it was malicious in nature."

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