Crews battle one-story strip mall fire in Downtown LA

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Firefighters spent the night putting out hot spots at the site of a noninjury blaze that fully engulfed a one-story strip mall in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.

"An official knockdown time has not been declared, but the incident clock was turned off," Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said.

The fire started about 6:30 p.m. Sunday inside a concrete commercial strip mall with eight to 10 units at 815 S. Central Ave., Stewart said. "Large, bulky stored goods created a large fire load," she said. "Appears a large quantity of red chili peppers also in structure, creating an additional irritant within the smoke."

As of 8 p.m. the fire had moved into the attic area of the building and 190 firefighters were at the scene. By 9 p.m. the incident clock was turned off and some fire units were released from the scene, Stewart said, with the others turning their attention to potential flareups.

About 65 firefighters were expected to remain on site throughout the night to focus on dousing hot spots that could cause fire to erupt anew, and Central Avenue remained closed in both directions at 8th Street, Stewart said.

Early on in the battle, firefighters were pulled off the roof and moved to a defensive position, battling the blaze from the exterior, while flames shot through the roof. Additional resources were called in, upgrading it to a
major emergency response, she said.

A fire department Urban Search and Rescue unit determined there was no structural damage, Stewart said.

No injuries were reported.

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