Teenage boy seriously injured in L.A. apartment fire

A teenage boy was seriously injured Thursday when he tried to extinguish a fire in his Sylmar apartment, Los Angeles Fire officials said.

City firefighters were called to the two-story apartment building in the 12800 block of San Fernando Road at 3:55 p.m. and found one of the rooms in the boy's residence engulfed in flames, said Katherine Main, a fire department spokeswoman.

Fifty-two firefighters responded and put out the flames in a short time, she said. The teenage boy, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and serious burns, Main said.

Four people were displaced by the fire, which damaged 75% of the residence and caused $45,000 in damages to the structure and property, she said.

The apartment unit was equipped with smoke detectors and they were functioning, according to Main. That is in contrast to an unusually high number of house fires in Los Angeles this year that have caused fatalities.

Since January, 11 people have died in residential fires, many in homes that either had no smoke alarms or nonfunctioning detectors. Los Angeles fire officials have launched a campaign to distribute smoke alarms to 404 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Main said residents should call 911 instead of trying to extinguish flames on their own. "It's always a good idea to call 911 and then exit the building safely,'' she said.

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catherine.saillant@latimes.com

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