A 19-year-old French citizen has died a day after a ‘suspicious’ fire that also left a three-month-old baby injured.
Fifteen residents and a dog were rescued by helicopter from the roof of the burning building and other residents were rescued from ledges of the 25-floor building after threatening to jump to escape the flames.
The deceased man has been named as Jeremy Bru, a foreign exchange student from France. He died in hospital on Friday evening and his cause of death has not been released.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation and arson has not been ruled out.
A resident threatened to jump fro the burning building before being rescued by firefighters
Firefighters took just 73 minutes to stop the blaze in the 25-floor residential building
Thirteen people were injured, including a three-month-old infant and two firefighters who suffered minor burns, after the fire ignited shortly after 8.30 am Wednesday morning at Barrington Plaza, 11740 West Wilshire Boulevard in Brentwood, fire officials said.
Seven residents were taken to hospital including Bru. Four were treated and released. There are no further updates on the conditions of the other injuries.
The dramatic fire spread quickly due to 35-mile-an-hour gusts of wind and when firefighters arrived, two people forced onto the building’s ledges by the flames were threatening to jump. A public service announcement system was used to tell them to stay as ladders were raised to bring them to safety.
‘We let them know to stay there,’ Los Angeles Deputy Fire Chief Armando Hogan told reporters.
‘No one jumped.’
Earlier reports that residents had jumped from the building were dismissed but one man was rescued by firefighters as he desperately tried to escape the floor where the fire was worst
Firefighters were quick to the scene traveling three blocks from another high-rise fire
The intense flames meant ‘firefighters were literally driven to their bellies halfway through that hallway before they even got to that fire unit’, Fire Capt. Erik Scott told NBC News.
‘This certainly could have been a lot worse, with 240 units, multiple people living in those units.
‘Firefighters did an outstanding job.’
Residents were seen gathering on the top floor of the building awaiting evacuation as fire crews knocked down the blaze.
The fire was confirmed knocked down by 10am, only 73 minutes after the first 911 call was made.
LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said that many residents had already left the building for work before the fire broke out.
‘We arrived very quickly after the fire reported, within moments, to find heavy fire pouring out of this sixth floor unit…Initially there were reports of several person who had jumped from that or upper floors,’ he said.
Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the fire which may have been arson
Witnesses said that at least one of the units involved in the blaze was an Airbnb rental
Witnesses said that at least one of the units involved in the blaze was an Airbnb rental. However, city officials told the Los Angeles Times there was no indicated the blaze broke out in a unit being rented on Airbnb.
Residents who rent apartments in the building said that Airbnb sublets are forbidden by the building owners but are nonetheless common. DailyMail.com confirmed there are active listings on Airbnb for the apartment complex.
The Los Angeles Fire Department said that 335 firefighters were assigned to battle the blaze, including four rescue-capable helicopters.
Authorities described the fire as ‘possibly suspicious’ at a press conference, but declined to specify what evidence may point to arson at this early stage.
LAFD arson investigators and the Los Angeles Police Department are cooperating in an investigation into whether the fire was intentionally set.
‘It’s very, very early. We don’t know if we have an arson or an accidental fire at this point,’ said LAPD West Bureau Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg at a press conference.
‘Arson investigators are working closely with LAPD to determine the cause of the fire,’ said LAFD Spokesperson: Nicholas Prange.
‘The investigation is active and ongoing. Investigators are combing through debris, examining evidence, and questioning witnesses in an effort to uncover facts surrounding the ignition of the fire.’
Initially authorities investigated a possible link to an earlier fire that broke out at 6.30am Wednesday at a different high-rise office building several blocks away.
By Wednesday afternoon, the earlier fire was confirmed as accidental.
LAFD arson investigators are investigating whether the tragic fire was intentionally set
The Barrington Plaza building, which has 39 residents living in 240 units, is the same one where a major fire broke out in October 2013.
The 2013 fire on the 11th floor injured eight people, displaced dozens of residents and caused millions of dollars in damages.
At that time, the building did not have sprinklers installed because it was built 52 years ago and was exempt from safety codes. Officials say that the building still does not have sprinklers.
Scott confirmed that the building does not have fitted sprinklers. Built before 1974, the high-rise is among 55 other residential high-rises in Los Angeles that are not required to have a sprinkler system because of their age.
The building was last been inspected in June 2019 and was up to code.
City Councilman Mike Bonin introduced a council motion on Friday to seek an ordinance that would require sprinklers in residential buildings built more than 50 years ago.
He stated that it should not have taken ‘another tragedy’ to get sprinklers in older buildings.
Police said that a Red Cross shelter had been set up for any displaced residents at the Westwood Rec Center at 1350 South Sepulveda.
The owner of the Barrington Plaza Douglas Emmett Inc. also reserved rooms in several hotels for tenants and set up a website and hotline.
‘Our priority is the safety and well-being of our residents,’ the company said in a statement.
‘We’re tracking the condition of those who may have been injured. We take these matters extremely seriously, and will continue to work with the Fire Department and local authorities.’