Los Angeles firefighters rescued more than a dozen residents from the rooftop of a 25-story residential building Wednesday morning where a wind-swept fire broke out, CBS Los Angeles reports. At least eight people were injured: two adults who were critically injured and six were treated for smoke inhalation, one of which is a 3-month-old.
The fire broke out at Barrington Plaza in Brentwood, a little after 8:30 a.m. local time, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Helicopters were used to rescue several residents who fled up nearly 20 flights of stairs to the roof for safety. The building is the same one where a fire occurred more than six years ago.
The fire broke out in a sixth-floor unit, fire department spokesman Brian Humphrey said, with heavy flames and smoke billowing hundreds of feet into the air.
There were initially unconfirmed reports that people may have been forced to jump out of the building. Aerial footage showed at least one person standing outside a window. However, in a morning briefing, Deputy Fire Chief Armando Hogan told reporters that there were no jumpers.
"That person that was hanging off the ledge that was contemplating jumping, what we ended up doing was talking that individual to stay put, our firefighters were able to effect a rescue ... so no one jumped," Hogan said.
The fire was knocked down just before 10 a.m. Firefighters were doing a floor to floor search to ensure there were no other victims. Hogan said only floors five through eight were impacted by the fire. It's unclear how many units were destroyed or damaged. The building, which was built in 1961, does not have a sprinkler system and is not required to because of its age.
"We arrived very quickly after the fire reported, within moments, to find heavy fire pouring out of this sixth-floor unit. Initially, there were reports of several person who had jumped from that or upper floors," Humphrey said.
Most of the residents in the building had already left for work for the day, Humphrey said. It's unclear if the entire building was being evacuated.
According to Hogan, crews who had been fighting a separate fire at a 26-story building a few blocks away noticed flames coming from a sixth-floor balcony.
They responded and placed inflatable air cushions on the ground in case there were any jumpers. "We do not encourage people to jump, but if they had, we wanted to do our very best to help them," Humphrey said.
At the fire's height, four rescue-capable helicopters were assigned to the fire, along with 335 firefighters.
There was no word on a possible cause, although the fire has been deemed "suspicious" in nature. Arson investigators are at the scene.
Surrounding streets were shut down and the public was asked to avoid the area. A Red Cross evacuation center has been set up.
This is not the first time a fire has broken out a Barrington Plaza. In October 2013, a fire broke out on the building's 11th floor, sending three firefighters to the hospital with burn injuries.
Jonathan Vigliotti contributed to this report.