Man found dead, firefighter injured in YMCA building fire in Lakewood
LAKEWOOD, Calif. - A man was found dead and a Los Angeles County firefighter was hospitalized after a two-alarm blaze ignited inside the YMCA Gymnastics Center in Lakewood early Thursday morning.
The fire was reported around 1:30 a.m. at the building located near the intersection of South Street and Lakewood Boulevard. Fire authorities said the flames were knocked down within an hour.
Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said a man was seen going into the YMCA and then there was a flash before the fire.
While fighting the flames, a firefighter became trapped in the smoke-filled gymnastics center. Part of the firefighter’s rescue was caught on video as he was pulled out of the smoking building before he was taken to the Long Beach Medical Center in stable condition. He is expected to make a full recovery.
"Our biggest concern is our brother or sister inside. We have a close bond with these individuals as if they were our family members," said Capt. Chiyoshi Hasegawa with LA County Fire. "We always train for the worst-case scenario and we do everything in our power, so they can go back to their family."
Once the fire was knocked down, firefighters found a body inside the building. The victim's name was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
No further information was immediately available and the cause of the fire is under investigation.