Stubborn fire destroys 99 Cents Only store in Culver City, prompting large response from firefighters

Culver City 99Cent store
A stubborn blaze burned through a 99 Cents Only store in Culver City early Monday.
(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

A stubborn fire tore through a 99 Cents Only store in Culver City early Monday, causing the roof of the business to collapse and closing streets as firefighters battled the massive blaze.

The fire was reported about 1:45 a.m. at the store in the 12000 block of Washington Boulevard, according to fire officials.

When firefighters arrived, they tried to extinguish the blaze from the roof and inside the building but encountered heavy flames and had to retreat. By 5 a.m., the fire had charred through the structure’s roof, causing a portion to collapse. Smoke billowed above the retail store as roughly 70 Culver City and Los Angeles firefighters on the ground and on ladders sprayed thousands of gallons of water on the smoldering inferno.

By the time fire crews had the blaze under control shortly after 7 a.m., the roof had completely crumbled, along with one of the building’s walls, video from the scene showed. Culver City police deployed a drone about 7:30 a.m. to assist fire crews.


An arson investigator with the LA Fire Dept. views an electrical unit that was pulled out of the fire as firefighters from Culver City and Los Angeles finish up battling a blaze in a 99 Cent store.
(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Culver City Fire Department Capt. Daniel Dobbs told KABC-TV Channel 7 that products inside the store provided significant fuel for the fire, making it more difficult for crews to extinguish the flames. Loud popping noises that could be heard from outside the building were likely helium tanks inside the store catching fire and exploding, he said.

No injuries were reported, and authorities are investigating what sparked the fire.

Officials with 99 Cents Only stores said the building appears to be a total loss. Employees who typically work at the store will be transferred to other locations, the company wrote on Twitter.

“We would like to thank all of the members of the Culver City Fire Department, local law enforcement and all other responding services for their swift response,” the company wrote. “The safety, well-being and immediate needs of our surrounding community, our employees and customers are our first priority.”

The blaze also forced the closure of Washington Boulevard and Rosabell Street, according to the Culver City Police Department.