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North Hollywood restaurant fire injures 4

January 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Three firefighters and one civilian suffered smoke inhalation during a fire Monday morning in North Hollywood. The fire burned a commercial building in the 5300 block of North Lankershim Boulevard. It took a long time for firefighters to put the fire out.

The building was originally constructed in 1926, designed by the same architects responsible for Union Station. The building was originally a bank. These days it was a popular nightclub and lounge called "The Bank Heist," a beautiful renovation effort that went down in flames Monday morning.

A tower of smoke rose into the morning sky over North Hollywood as flames shot through the roof of a popular restaurant and nightclub.

More than 30 engines and dozens of firefighters attacked the flames from ladders and from the rooftop.

At about 8 a.m., firefighters determined it was too dangerous to fight the fire from inside the historic building, so they took a defensive position, cutting vent holes into the walls.

"Due to the nature of the building, the construction of the building, it was a very tough fire to fight," said Battalion Chief Peter Benesch, L.A. City Fire Dept.

The fire was burning right through the second story of the building, which had undergone a major renovation. Three firefighters and one civilian were treated for smoke inhalation. Another firefighter suffered a lacerated finger.

LAFD offcials say they finally had to cut through the roof.

"Very well-constructed roof, very tough for our guys to cut through the roof in order to do the ventilation," said Chief Benesch.

The fire was finally brought under control at about 9:30 Monday morning, some two hours after firefighters arrived on scene.

No word yet on the cause of this morning's fire, and no exact damage estimate is available.


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