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Massive fire rips through apartment complex in Lomita

Dozens displaced after massive fire tears through Lomita condo complex
Dozens displaced after massive fire tears through Lomita condo complex 01:59

A massive fire ripped through an apartment building in Lomita on Saturday, causing the second floor to collapse as huge flames damaged the entire structure.

Aerial view of firefighters battling the massive blaze via SkyCal. KCAL News

Firefighters were dispatched to battle the fire, located at the Vista Verde Condominium complex in the 2000 bock of Palos Verdes Drive, at around 6:40 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. In all, they say there are around 150 firefighters engaged with the blaze. 

Firefighters battle massive Third Alarm fire at apartment complex in Lomita 57:55

After burning for nearly an hour, the roof of the building appeared to have collapsed in on itself due to the raging fire. LACoFD Public Information Officer Craig Little said that the second floor collapsed onto the first, creating additional complications to their ongoing firefight.

Crews could be seen battling the large flames that were shooting forth from the roof of the building with SkyCal overhead. Huge plumes of smoke were seen billowing from the building. 

Firefighters were battling the fire, which they deemed a Third Alarm, from above with ladders and on portions of the roof adjacent to where the flames extended from the building. 

A transformer exploding during the firefight at a condominium complex in Lomita.  KCAL News

At least two transformers exploded near the building, but firefighters were far enough away that they were never endangered by the explosions, Little said, also noting that the building was a two-story complex of which the entire first floor was parking for the units above. 

"We have a total of 25 units in this complex," Little said. "Seven were saved, five were damaged and 14 completely destroyed."

Little said that the fire was finally completely extinguished at 11:40 p.m., nearly five hours after it was first reported.

"The fire went up into our attic space, between the ceiling and the roof and spread horizontally and it took out about half of our building," said Paul Funk, the Vista Verde Owners Association President on Sunday.

Funk, who was in his condo on Saturday when his roommate reported smelling smoke, said that despite the tragedy, he's inspired by the resiliency of his neighbors, many of whom stayed with neighbors and at nearby churches overnight.

"Praise God we're all alive, everyone got out safe," Funk said. "This happened the day before we're celebrating the resurrection of our lord, so we're gonna celebrate the resurrection of Vista Verde — in about eight months."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation and it is unclear if any injuries have been reported to either residents or firefighters.

The building borders Green Hills Memorial Park Cemetery. 

Firefighters continue to spray water on the condominium complex after extinguishing most of the massive flames that had previously engulfed the building. KCAL News

This is a developing story. Check back for details. 

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