LOS ANGELES (AP) — One person is dead and three others had to be rescued from a major fire in an abandoned two-story office building Monday night near downtown Los Angeles, officials said.
The fire broke out at about 7 p.m. in a building that is supposed to be vacant, but at least five unauthorized people were inside, city fire spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
The five people from inside included the dead person and two who had to be hospitalized but were expected to survive, Humphrey said.
Police were interviewing one of the injured men, calling him a person of interest in the investigation of the blaze.
That person and one other were hospitalized but were expected to survive, Humphrey said.
Carlos Hernandez, who lives in an apartment building next door, told KCAL-TV that homeless people frequently came and went from the building at night.
Nearly 150 firefighters took more than two hours to knock down the heavy flames at the building in the Westlake District about a mile east of downtown Los Angeles.
After making sure the building was empty the firefighters had to take on a defensive stance and fight the fire from a distance because it was too dangerous to get close to an abandoned building like this one.
"People do tend to live in them, and they tear them up," fire Capt. Daniel Curry said. "Floors are no longer intact, walls are no longer there."
There was no further information yet available on the dead or injured.