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Greater-Alarm Fire Erupts At Large Commercial Building In Downtown LA

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A greater-alarm fire broke out at a densely-packed commercial building in a busy stretch of downtown Los Angeles early Wednesday morning, sending flames and plumes of smoke shooting hundreds of feet into the air for hours.

Crews Battle Massive Commercial Fire In Downtown LA
A commercial fire burns in downtown Los Angeles. Aug. 22, 2018. (CBS2)

The stubborn fire was reported at 5 a.m. at a 150-foot by 25-foot one-story building in the 1300 block of South Margo Street, near the 10 Freeway, the Los Angeles Fire Department reports. Sky2 was over the blaze, which looked like a giant fireball against the downtown skyline.

At the fire's height, about 150 personnel were on scene. The blaze was fueled by clothing, pallets and cardboard, the fire department said. The bulk of the fire was about 40 feet inside the building, making it difficult for firefighters to reach due to the number of stored items in the building.

Residents in nearby apartment buildings described the fear they felt when they smelled and saw the smoke.

"I smelled plastic burning, I thought it's my apartment, jumped on my bike and checked to see if it had spread anywhere," one neighbor told CBS2.

Crews Battle Massive Commercial Fire In Downtown LA
A commercial fire burns in downtown Los Angeles. Aug. 22, 2018. (CBS2)

Due to the size of the blaze, crews were forced to take a defensive position, LAFD reports. Firefighters were pulled off the roof and out of the structure.

"Due to the extensive storage and pallets inside of the building, and the heavy fire load, shortly after making that initial entry, firefighters were pulled out of the building, off of the roof, to go into defensive operations for their safety," LAFD Capt. Branden Silverman told CBS2.

It took firefighters about 2 1/2 hours to knock down the fire. No injuries were reported and there was no word of any evacuations. Several surrounding streets were blocked off. Drivers advised to avoid the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Olive Street all morning.

The fire did not spread to any surrounding businesses, Silverman said, although an adjoining building owned by the same business where the fire broke out sustained minor fire damage.

The cause of the fire and the name of the business was not immediately confirmed. Authorities did, however, rule out arson.

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