Fire erupted Wednesday in the vacant Hawthorne Plaza shopping center, sending a thick plume of black smoke into the air.

The fire was reported about 9:35 a.m. at the former mall in the 12100 block of South Hawthorne Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The blaze quickly went to a second alarm, with dozens of firefighters on the scene working to douse the flames.

Fire officials initially reported the blaze was in a single-story structure, but crews on scene reported the fire was centered in a multi-story building, with heavy smoke coming from an underground parking garage.

There were no immediate reports of any injuries.

Hawthorne police urged people to avoid Hawthorne Boulevard between 120th Street and El Segundo Boulevard, noting that traffic was “severely impacted” due to the large fire department response.

Hawthorne Plaza opened in 1977 but closed in 1999. The shopping plaza was anchored by JC Penney, Montgomery Ward and The Broadway stores.

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