The Los Angeles Fire Department announced Thursday that after investigating a fire at a three-story commercial building downtown, a cause was undetermined, but investigators confirmed it began inside the structure and was unrelated to a nearby homeless encampment.
The fire was reported about 1:50 a.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of East Third Street, according to the LAFD. No injuries were reported and no evacuations ordered.
Video showed flames coming out of one side of the building, spreading across the street and igniting tents and debris at a homeless encampment, and what sounded like several small firecracker-like explosions involving what authorities said were “pressurized gas cylinders.”
Firefighters went into defensive mode, pouring water on the outside of the building to prevent flames from spreading to other structures.
A total of 150 firefighters were sent to the scene and traffic was routed away from the area.
The building was described by the LAFD’s Brian Humphrey as a “century-old 23,790-square-foot, three-story masonry building that housed five businesses.” Two of those businesses were believed to sell smoking supplies.
“Neither the structure nor tenants of a modern six-story retirement apartment community separated by an alley to the east, sustained any injury or direct impact from the fire, and were allowed to remain in their homes,” Humphrey said in a statement.
“The fire was also prevented from spreading to an immediately adjacent unoccupied five-story center-hallway apartment building to the north, that was undergoing renovation,” he said.
The LAFD announced about 2 p.m. Thursday that an investigation into the fire was concluded and the cause was undetermined.
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