[symple_googlemap title=”S. LA house fire” location=”Griffith Avenue and 29th Street, S. Los Angeles, CA” height=”300″ zoom=”16″]

A trapped man who was pulled out of a burning abandoned house in South Los Angeles by firefighters later died from his injuries, and a woman who refused treatment sustained minor injuries, authorities said Thursday.

Desperate firefighters used power tools in their rescue attempts after neighbors had tried using sledgehammers unsuccessfully to break into the blazing structure.

It wasn’t clear why the man and woman were inside the abandoned structure when the blaze broke out, nor why the man wasn’t able to run to safety. The cause of the fire wasn’t yet determined.

Firefighters who responded to the blaze in the 780-square-foot home on the corner of Griffith Avenue and 29th Street found workers from a nearby business using sledgehammers in a “fruitless effort” to gain entry into the home and help people they believed were trapped inside, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

“There was no immediate evidence that the vacant and boarded premises, considered unfit for human tenancy prior to the fire, had any manner of approved smoke alarm, life safety or fire protection systems,” Humphrey said.

“Teams of firefighters deftly used power and hand tools to breach and remove plywood and steel security bars that covered the windows and doors of the heat- and smoke-charged structure, as their colleagues extended hoselines and commenced vertical ventilation of the 98-year-old building, which had been boarded and vacant for some time,” Humphrey said.

Firefighters pulled an unconscious and non-breathing man out of the structure, carrying him through a bedroom window.

“The man was promptly placed in the care of (paramedics) who initiated advanced life support measures while rushing him to a nearby hospital in grave condition, where he later died,” Humphrey said.

A woman who had earlier escaped the burning home with minimal injury was then discovered outside by firefighters, Humphrey said. She “adamantly” declined hospital transportation or social services, he added.

Eighty-five firefighters under the command of Battalion Chief Eric Talamantes confined the fire to the attic, extinguishing the flames in less than 16 minutes in the Wednesday morning blaze, Humphrey said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the man and woman were doing inside.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

—City News Service

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