Chilling new details revealed in aftermath of downtown LA fire

Thursday, December 18, 2014
Chilling new details revealed in aftermath of DTLA fire
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Chilling new details were revealed Tuesday about last week's sprawling downtown fire.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Chilling new details were revealed Tuesday about last week's sprawling downtown fire.

Twenty-four hours after the Los Angeles Fire Department released video of two potential witnesses to the downtown blaze, officials say they still don't know who they are.

But about the footage of one of the men trying to get closer to the fire, LAFD Chief Joseph Castro says he appeared to be intoxicated, according to a report from the captain.

The photographer tells ABC7 the man had been cursing the fire and shouting "Get it out."

Investigators say he may be a link to what started the massive blaze.

Castro, head of L.A. Fire's emergency response, described to the fire commission what he called key dilemmas.

"The biggest and most profound were the exposures," he said.

He says three buildings were minutes from exploding into flames.

For the first time, Castro revealed the location within the building where the fire started.

"Most of the fire started right at the center," he said.

The blaze began in the middle of the 1.3 million-square foot building. That presented another problem: the fire hoses could not shoot that far. Add to that, the tons of unprotected lumber.

What's more, says the chief, the site is located in a natural wind tunnel. Commissioners question its tight proximity to freeways.

"If we had a few things going on, maybe some sort of terrorist event or arson event, it would really shut us down," said fire commissioner Steven Fazio.

Castro's bureau will now review possible changes to the building code. He says for this massive site, a critical requirement made the difference. They had a detailed plan for fighting a fire at the location, even before construction began.