It started as a small fire in the kitchen of a food processing plant and quickly exploded into a wave of flames that destroyed nearly half of the 75,000 sq.-ft. plant.
Multiple units were called to the scene around 8 p.m. LAFD said the fire was at one point being fueled by a broken gas line.
"There was a ruptured gas line, there was propane tanks that were connected to forklifts that were exploding," said LAFD spokesman Erik Scott. "What they didn't know was that flames were hidden and were running the attic up above and were rapidly spreading."
Employees inside the building raced out as black smoke and ash filled the air. Aerial images showed flames spewing from the roof of the building at 4020 S. Compton Avenue as firefighters doused the blaze with several hoses.
No one was injured in the fire, but the damage was extensive. On Tuesday morning, crews continued to drown out hot spots in the smoldering wreckage.
Employees arriving to work in the morning were in disbelief, not knowing when the plant will be back up and running.
"We feel bad, we feel sorry for the owners, we feel sorry for us because we are out of a job," said Leonardo, an employee.
The plant is located between Thomas Jefferson High School and the Ross Snyder Recreation Center.
More than 110 firefighters were called to the scene of the blaze. The LAFD's arson unit is investigating the cause of the fire.