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Large fire damages downtown L.A. commercial building

At least 117 firefighters were battling the fire early Tuesday, and the downed power lines were causing safety concerns, according to the LAFD.

A commercial building in downtown Los Angeles was destroyed by a large fire early Tuesday that downed nearby power lines and injured a firefighter.

The fire, which was reported at 4:49 a.m. at 771 E. Pico Blvd., was extinguished by 117 firefighters in 47 minutes, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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The one-story clothing business, called Priceless, was engulfed in flames which shot through the roof, causing it to collapse. The fire was confined to the building, authorities said.

LAFD Capt. Eric Thompson douses hot spots after a fire at the Priceless clothing company in the the 700 block of East Pico Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles.
LAFD Capt. Eric Thompson douses hot spots after a fire at the Priceless clothing company in the the 700 block of East Pico Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The intensity of the blaze forced firefighters off the roof and out of the building, according to the LAFD. Downed power lines caused safety concerns for the firefighters, who assumed a defensive position, using heavy water streams to put out the fire.

A fire captain who was working on the roof sustained a head injury that was possibly caused by “a large hose line,” said Capt. Erik Scott, an LAFD spokesman. The captain was taken to a hospital in fair condition, and his injuries were non-life-threatening, authorities said.

The building was not occupied at the time of the fire and mostly contained clothing items, Scott said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

LAFD Spokesman Brian Humphrey said investigators would remain on the scene most of the day. Crews were using heavy equipment, including bulldozers, to move damaged materials.

“There’s a great deal of debris smoldering,” Humphrey said.

“The structure has been destroyed,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking. These businesses typically represent a lifetime of investment for the owner and the employment of many.”

Firefighters, he said, “are going to do their best to assist the business owner.”

10:40 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from Erik Scott and Brian Humphrey.

6 a.m.: This article was updated with the fire being extinguished.

This article was originally published at 5:35 a.m.

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