3 dead after BMW hits Studio City pizzeria, bursts into flames

A BMW sedan struck a tree and crashed into a Studio City pizzeria after the driver lost control early Sunday, killing three people including the driver and sparking a fire, authorities said.

The car severed a gas line and was engulfed in flames shortly after it hit Reno's Pizzeria on Ventura Boulevard. About 50 Los Angeles firefighters responded to the blaze about 3:30 a.m. and fully extinguished the fire in about 20 minutes, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department

The driver and the two passengers, whose names were withheld pending notification of family, were declared dead at the scene, authorities said. No other injuries were reported.

Friends of the driver told KTLA that the three were driving from a 21st birthday party at a local restaurant and that drinking was involved.

Authorities said they do not know what caused the crash and are investigating all possibilities including the influence of alcohol.

"When the car immolates like that, identification and stuff like that are iffy," said Sgt. Kurt Smith of the Valley Traffic Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Identification cards recovered from the scene indicate that two of the people in the car were male, Smith said. A third identification card has not been found.

--Frank Shyong, Los Angeles Times

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