Massive blaze rips through 2 Fashion District buildings in downtown Los Angeles

Water is sprayed from multiple fire trucks and ladders are extended over a Fashion District building.
Firefighters fight a stubborn commercial fire burning Tuesday in the 800 block of South Crocker Street in the Fashion District of Los Angeles.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

More than 130 firefighters were called in to battle a two-building blaze early Tuesday in the Fashion District of downtown Los Angeles.

The fire ignited around 4:45 a.m. near Crocker and East 8th streets and quickly spread to a nearby commercial building occupied by a fabric wholesaler. The textiles inside the building helped fuel the flames.

“[The fabric] creates what we call a heavy fire load,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said.

The fire appeared to be under control by 5:30 a.m., only to reignite and expand to the building next door, which also houses textiles. By 7 a.m., massive plumes of heavy smoke and flames were billowing into the air as crews tackled the fire with heavy water streams, ladder pipes and ground operations.

A firefighter trains a hose on the front of a Fashion District building.
Firefighters fight a stubborn fire burning through textile businesses in the Fashion District of Los Angeles early Tuesday morning.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

“Despite firefighters’ dedicated efforts, they discovered the fire extended into the structure on the [northwest] side,” the Fire Department said.

Two firefighting units tackled the blaze, according to Stewart, one working at the first building and a second attacking the flames next door.

By 9 a.m., crews were able to gain full control over the fire, authorities said.

“Firefighters worked tirelessly to prevent the fire from further extension and to save exposed businesses,” the Fire Department said. “Over 130 firefighters achieved a full extinguishment of the fire in just over 3½ hours.”

One firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat-related illness that did not appear to be life-threatening, officials said. No other injuries were reported.

The Fire Department’s arson section is actively investigating the cause of the blaze “based on protocols due to the size of the incident,” authorities said, and crews will remain on the scene to ensure that all flames remain extinguished.