West L.A. apartment blaze causes 12th fire-related death of the year

A 60-year-old woman was found dead inside an apartment building fire Friday afternoon in West Los Angeles, authorities said, marking the 12th fire-related death in the city so far this year.

The blaze broke out in the two-story building in the 3400 block of Clarington Avenue in the Palms neighborhood just before 2 p.m., fire department spokesman Cody Weireter said.

The fire was extinguished in less than 20 minutes. Investigators surveying the scene found the body of an adult in the second-story apartment, Weireter said. The person’s identity was not immediately available and no firefighters were injured in the blaze.

The fatality marks the 12th fire death in Los Angeles so far this year. On Wednesday, a mother and her 1-year-old son died in a garage fire in South Los Angeles. 

One of this year's deaths — a 98-year-old woman who was killed when her furnace caught fire — occurred three blocks from Wednesday's blaze.

"It's alarming to be entering the month of March — and we are in the fifth day of March — and we're already at the alarming rate of … fatalities," said LAFD Capt. Jamie Moore after Wednesday’s deaths.

With the number of deaths on the rise this year, fire officials have focused on developing a public awareness campaign centered on the importance of maintaining working smoke alarms. Many of the fatal fires occurred in homes without the devices, they said.

Officials said there were smoke alarms in the Palms fire Wednesday, but they were still investigating whether the devices were working. The cause of the blaze was also still under investigation.


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