More than 160 firefighters battled a major emergency fire Thursday at a four-story apartment and a two-story building next to it in the Westlake district, but no one was hurt. Photo via OnScene.TV.
More than 160 firefighters battled a major emergency fire Thursday at a four-story apartment and a two-story building next to it in the Westlake district, but no one was hurt. Photo via OnScene.TV.

A major emergency fire heavily damaged a vacant four- story apartment building and a vacant two-story house next door to it in the Westlake district Thursday, but no one was hurt.

The blaze broke out at 2:11 a.m. in a two-story Victorian house in the 600 block of South Bonnie Brae Street and spread to an adjacent apartment building, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Firefighters went into a defensive mode, working to prevent the fire from spreading to any other buildings, and the flames were knocked down by 161 firefighters in a hour and 26 minutes, the LAFD reported.

Although the buildings were officially listed as vacant, officials learned that homeless people may have been squatting in one or both, and searchers began working after daybreak, assisted by specially trained dogs, to determine if anyone had died in the fire, Humphrey said.

Residents of a nearby convalescent home were told by authorities to shelter in place while firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, and no one was injured, Humphrey said.

As of late morning, the Victorian house had been red-tagged, and officials were deciding whether to red-tag the apartment building, Humphrey said.

Also, officials were deciding whether to yellow-tag the convalescent home and a single-story building housing a law library, both of which sustained some minor damage from the fire, Humphrey said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

 —City News Service

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