Daniel Reese was sleeping when he heard police sirens just after 3 a.m. The resident of Canvas L.A., a blue and gray four-story apartment complex just off the south 110 Freeway, said he figured officers were just pulling someone over.
Instead, the sirens were his cue to leave his building, which stood just on the other side of a massive fire burning the DaVinci apartment development.
Reese said he walked out to the balcony and saw giant flames shooting high into the darkened sky, taller than some buildings. The smoke and flames obscured his view of other buildings.
"I thought some of the flames where coming out of the building next door," he said. "Some people got closer to the freeway to take photos. I thought, 'You guys are nuts!'"
Reese was rattled as he grabbed his wallet and his dog, Marley, a British bulldog.
He said some residents drove away while others stood gaping on Beaudry Avenue for about an hour before going back into their apartments.
Reese said embers were raining down and the heat could be felt as far back as Beaudry.
Holding his dog by the leash, he said he called out from work because he got very few hours of sleep.
"Too much drama," he said.