Chief Millage Peaks of the L.A. City Fire Department said firefighters immediately made an aggressive attack on the sixth floor because the attic was already fully involved when they got there. Firefighters cut holes in the roof to ventilate heat and smoke.
"Right now, we're basically dealing with salvage problems, water problems throughout the building," he said.
Residents said there was a fire in the manager's office on Thursday morning, and then on Friday morning, they heard shots fired from a possible drive-by shooting, and then they smelled smoke.
Moments later, they heard the manager yelling for everyone to evacuate.
"At first I thought, 'Someone's burning breakfast. Just turn the stove off,' but then it started to stink up a little bit more, and then I heard the manager running around," said witness J.P. Chua. "Pretty intense, but I grabbed the two most important things, myself and my dog."
Authorities said all residents were evacuated safely. According to Peaks, one man was taken to a local hospital as a precaution because he had trouble breathing.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Arson investigators said they may have a preliminary cause for the fire later Friday. Investigators said despite earlier suspicion of arson, the fire appears to have been accidental.
One person was hospitalized for shortness of breath.
The American Red Cross is on scene to assist displaced residents. The Red Cross set up a shelter at the RFK Community High School gymnasium.
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