Los Angeles, CA – November 29, 2023
In a harrowing incident that unfolded in the early hours of Tuesday, a massive fire swept through the Central-Alameda neighborhood of South Los Angeles, destroying homes and leaving at least three people injured. The blaze, described by firefighters as “city-block-sized,” took over 100 firefighters and 78 minutes to bring under control, involving the collaborative efforts of both the “Los Angeles Fire Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.”
The calamity began at approximately 3:20 a.m. when emergency crews responded to the 1500 block of East Vernon Avenue. An apartment building under construction was found engulfed in flames, with downed power lines compounding the perilous situation. Evacuations were swiftly ordered, awakening neighboring residents who were told to leave their homes as firefighters worked diligently to defend the surrounding buildings.
Two elderly individuals, a 64-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man, sustained serious burns and were rushed to the hospital. Additionally, a 30-year-old man was evaluated at the scene but opted not to be taken for further treatment, according to authorities.
The fire, which spread to seven other buildings, resulted in five being deemed total losses. The American Red Cross and the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department are assisting the 17 people whose homes were destroyed in the disaster.
Arson investigators are on-site as part of the city’s protocol for structure fires, although the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Margaret Stewart, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department, explained that the swift and intense spread of the fire was exacerbated by the fact that the affected building was in the framing stages of construction, leaving all of the wood exposed and contributing to the rapid and intense nature of the blaze.
Eyewitness accounts from affected residents paint a vivid picture of the terrifying moments as the fire engulfed their homes. Gerardo Diaz, 30, described the incident as happening “in the blink of an eye,” emphasizing the rapid devastation. Residents like RaymonChaidec, 58, and Aaron Vazquez, 28, shared their experiences of waking up to explosions and an out-of-control fire that posed an imminent threat to their homes.
The aftermath of the disaster saw firefighters working to douse the smoldering wreckage of the construction site. Several hours later, crews demolished the ruins, preventing any lingering embers from causing further damage.
As the investigation unfolds, the affected community faces the daunting task of rebuilding, with the city and emergency services extending support to those impacted by this tragic event.