Updated at 10:58 a.m., April 2, 2015
A “suspicious” multi-alarm fire broke out Thursday at a Wilmington motel, killing a man and injuring 15 other people, including some who leaped out of windows in a desperate effort to escape intense flames and who suffered fractures on hitting the ground.
The fire was reported in the Wilmington Motel in the 100 block of East C Street about 3:15 a.m., Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said.
An 8-year-old child was among those injured, he said.
The fire was listed as “suspicious” in origin, but its cause remained under investigation, Scott said. Arson investigators were on scene, and fire commanders said they suspect arson due to the speed at which the blaze moved.
The building was equipped with “functional smoke alarms,” Scott said. A number of motel residents said they did not hear the smoke alarms, however.
A damage estimate was not immediately available.
A motel guest told NBC4 he was awakened by smoke alarms and a voice saying “It’s burning.” The guest said he opened the door of his room and flames “came rushing in.” He said he escaped his room through a window, as did others, suffering injuries in the process.
“It was terrifying,” the guest said.
Scott said the blaze was fought by more than 100 firefighters and knocked down in 50 minutes.
Eleven adults and a child were transported for hospital treatment, 10 with minor injuries and two with “moderate/serious” injuries, Scott said. Three other people were treated at the scene and declined transport to the hospital, he said.
The two-story motel had 29 occupants in its 20 units, Scott said.
Scott said the man who died was found inside the motel. His name was withheld, pending family notification.
The American Red Cross was helping the displaced motel residents find accommodation.
—City News Service