A fire broke out just after 2 a.m. Sunday at an apartment complex in Highland Park, according to fire department officials.
Residents who spotted the fire that started in a carport began knocking on neighbors’ doors to wake them up so they could evacuate. Fire alarms began sounding at the Arroyo Seco Apartments around 2:15 a.m.
“We simply just woke up to popping of tires, and smoke, and neighbors knocking on doors saying, ‘Fire!’ We came out and the carports were on fire,” James Gibson, a resident, told CBS Los Angeles.
The flames, which at their peak reached approximately 30 feet, engulfed several cars and jumped to the balconies of apartments in the four-story complex.
The complex sits on top of a hill and is encircled by a single street that provides access to the units. The fire broke out near the entrance to the complex, preventing residents from leaving or entering.
As the fire burned early Sunday morning, residents grabbed hoses and tried to douse flames alongside firefighters.
Firefighters found 15 cars ablaze when they arrived just after 2 a.m., according to the department. Smoke then stretched into the interior of the building. Thirty-four firefighters put out the blaze in 57 minutes, according to the department.
On Sunday morning, the area damaged by the fire was cordoned off by yellow tape. The charred shells of at least 10 cars remained in the carport.
The windows of six apartments were shattered from the blaze. Plastic garage doors appeared to have melted.