A man died and a woman was hospitalized in grave condition Thursday after firefighters pulled them from a burning home in the Exposition Park area of Los Angeles.
Crews responded to the fire at 1084 W. Leighton Ave., near Vermont Avenue, about 12:45 a.m. and discovered a boarding home and care facility with fire and smoke showing and reports of people still inside the burning structure, according to Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
A search team found one person inside the home in grave condition and as they were pulling the patient out, a second patient was found just inside the rear exit of the home, also in grave condition, Prange said.
The owner of the home, Jason Hinds, told NBC4 the two victims were a caregiver and her brother.
“She was unresponsive when they brought her out and they were doing chest compressions on both of them,” Hinds said.
The patients were taken to a hospital by paramedics, where the man died, Prange said. His name was withheld, pending notification of his relatives.
Hinds lives in the home with his wife and two children and told the station that most of the people who lived in the home have mental health issues. His wife and children were not hurt.
During the rescue, an engineer working at a pump panel to provide water to firefighters heard reports of multiple patients being rescued and ran to the rear of the home to assist with pulling them out, Prange said. The engineer suffered minor smoke inhalation and was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
Firefighters continued to get an adequate supply of water after the engineer left the pump to assist in the rescues, Prange said.
A total of 53 firefighters extinguished the blaze in 34 minutes, but officials said the home may not have had working smoke detectors.
“So, unfortunately, the preliminary right now is that we did not hear any smoke alarms when our firefighters were initially on scene,” LAFD Capt. Cody Weireter told reporters at the scene.
There were conflicting reports that multiple residents of the home could not be accounted for, but no other patients were found inside the home. They may have evacuated and not immediately returned, he said.
At least eight adults and four children were displaced by the fire and the Red Cross was called in to assist those affected by this fire, Prange said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.