Charred human remains were found in the rubble of a Canoga Park commercial building that housed an apparent drug-processing operation and erupted into flames Monday, while fire officials confirmed that another man who was burned in the blaze died at a hospital.
Firefighters sent to the 8400 block of North Canoga Avenue about 12:20 p.m. Monday extinguished the flames in an hour and 15 minutes, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Paramedics sent to the scene took three men to a hospital with burns. A 28-year-old man died at the hospital, according to Brian Humphrey of the LAFD. The man’s name was withheld pending notification of his relatives.
A man in his 30s remained hospitalized on Tuesday morning in critical condition, and another man remained hospitalized in serious condition, Humphrey said.
“The men’s affiliation with the premises has not been confirmed, nor has the full name of the business(es) involved,” Humphrey said in a statement Tuesday morning. “No other injuries have been reported.”
Firefighters sifting through the rubble in the building on Tuesday morning discovered human remains believed to be those of an adult, possibly a male, Humphrey said. The remains were found in a bathroom, LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said. Information on that person’s identity was not known.
“LAFD Firefighters, who remained active through the night with a robotic firefighting vehicle and heavy equipment at the scene of yesterday’s major emergency fire, were able to secure sections of the structurally compromised building, and at daylight resumed their systematic search of the largely destroyed premises,” Humphrey said on Tuesday.
“During this methodical search among tons of burnt debris inside the structure, they discovered adult human remains.”
The building apparently housed an operation involved in the processing of a product thought to be marijuana or hashish, Humphrey said.
“While evidence of hashish was discovered within the destroyed building, the specific nature and legality of operations there remains the focus — per protocol — of a joint investigation by LAFD, LAPD and Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force officials,” Humphrey said.
Some explosions were reported from inside the single-story building as the flames raged and sent a thick plume of black smoke into the air, according to the LAFD. About 150 firefighters fought the blaze, transitioning into a defensive operation that prevented the flames from spreading to other buildings.