Residents return to fire-damaged West Los Angeles high-rise


As flames and smoke billowed from the 11th floor of Barrington Plaza, resident John Wolff was carrying an elderly woman down 25 flights of stairs.

"It was this older woman, I would guess that she was 60 or 70, very disoriented, and it was clear that she couldn't make it down the stairs," said Wolff. "So basically I just grabbed her and sort of hip-carried her all the way down the stairs."

Others also rose to the occasion on Friday.

Pamela Day carried a little girl through the smoke. Neighbors say one man risked his life to help neighbors.

Now that the smoke has cleared, most residents are back in their apartments.

Although fire investigators say it's safe on most floors, some residents say it's not pleasant.

"They have some sort of machine trying to suck up all the smoke, but you can still feel it in your lungs, it's uncomfortable, your eyes get real itchy really fast," said resident Sheila Rasak.

"The number of tenants is anywhere between 100 to 150 tenants that occupy those 51 residences that had been displaced on floors seven through 11," said L.A. Fire Captain Jaime Moore. "Eleven was the fire floor. Floors seven through 10 were actually impacted due to water damage."

Investigators say the fire was contained to one apartment. The cause of the fire was still being investigated. They say of the eight people hospitalized, including one little girl and three firefighters, two of them remained hospitalized Monday.

Residents were shaken, but grateful it wasn't worse.

"It was a pretty frightening moment. The only thing we thought about was our newborn, just to get her out of there because we didn't know how bad this was going to go," said resident Avi Rahimi.

The 10th and 11th floors remained uninhabitable. There was extensive smoke and water damage on those floors. The 9th floor was slated for possible reopening Monday night.

All other floors were deemed safe.

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