Wind-driven fire burns home, converted garage in Exposition Park

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A wind-driven blaze tore through a converted garage and severely damaged an adjacent home in Exposition Park early Friday morning, fire officials said. No major injuries were reported.

The flames erupted about 2:30 a.m. at a residential property in the 1600 block of W. 39th Place, burning several palm trees and vehicles, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Gustavo Rojas was among the neighbors who attempted to extinguish the fire with garden hoses before emergency personnel arrived at the scene. The heat, however, proved to be too intense.

"I tried to but I couldn't," said Rojas, who suffered a minor burn. "I was just in the back, trying to protect that house. Then I came up to the front, tried to knock the door and no one was coming out. After that, we just got more scared and just ran outside."

Ninety-one firefighters extinguished the fire in 38 minutes.

The residents of the damaged home were away at the time of the incident.

"Wind-driven fire is much more challenging because it fuels the flames, it pushes it in different directions and it makes it spread so much faster," said Capt. Erik Scott, an LAFD spokesman.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.
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