Fire damages multiple structures, temporarily closes freeway near Echo Park

- Three sheds were destroyed and two homes were damaged Sunday in Echo Park, as city and county firefighters scrambled to save a line of homes while flames spread through about eight acres of dried brush underneath a freeway interchange in the heart of Los Angeles, a fire department spokesman said.

Smoke was visible from as far away as Santa Monica, as firefighters were rushed to the area. The southern end of the Glendale (2) Freeway was closed, south of the Golden State (5) Freeway, near Silver Lake.

Drivers were seen making U-turns on freeway ramps to escape the flames burning under the interchange of the 2 and 5 freeways.

The fire was reported just after 1 p.m. Full containment was declared at 2:45 p.m., according to Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

A KNX radio reporter described people using shovels and buckets of water to prevent flames from spreading from parched landscaping to houses.

Initially, it was reported that three houses burned in the brushfire, but the city fire department updated the damage report with three sheds destroyed and two houses suffering fire damage, according to Scott. Both houses were on Corralitas Drive, he said. One house suffered exterior damage and the other home fire damage to its attic.

However, 20 homes also on Corralitas Drive were temporarily threatened by the flames, Scott added.

Three helicopters were called out to assist ground efforts in the blaze, which was called in just after 1 p.m. in the 2200 block of Allesandro Way, according Scott.

City fire dispatched 200 firefighters to the location, according to Scott. Meanwhile, the L.A. County Fire Department sent ground crews and at least one water-dropping helicopter to battle the flames, according to county fire Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores.

The California Highway Patrol has shut down the Glendale Boulevard, Alvarado and Newell onramps to the northbound 2 Freeway and the Riverside Drive onramp to the southbound 2 Freeway and the 5 Freeway.

"Silver Ridge Avenue has multiple homes exposed, firefighters are working extremely hard to prevent those homes from being damaged,'' Scott said.

Dispatchers told crews multiple fires were burning in the area, in the hills south and west of the Golden State (5) Freeway and north of Elysian Park.

The command post was set up at Riverside Drive at Alessandro Street. Witnesses described L.A. County fire choppers landing to pick up water on the closed section of the 2 Freeway, with flames shooting in the air from
landscaping on the south side of the freeway.

Electrical wires were down on several streets in the area because of the fire, according to emergency radio transmissions from the scene.

The temperature was 100, the humidity was 10 percent, and winds were blowing at least nine miles per hour from the north, authorities said.

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