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Man in critical condition, 2 other people hurt in Koreatown fire

September 17, 2012 | 10:34 pm

A fire burns in Koreatown apartment building. A man was hospitalized in critical condition, two other people were injured.

This post has been updated. See below for details.

A man was severely burned and two other people were injured Monday evening when a fire broke out in a four-story Koreatown apartment building, officials said.

More than 70 Los Angeles firefighters responded about 8:15 p.m. to the blaze in the 500 block of Normandie Avenue where a man was reportedly trapped, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

Firefighters kicked in multiple doors while searching for the victim on the building’s first occupied floor.

“Firefighters went in with zero visibility; the smoke had banked down below their knees, which means you can’t see your hand in front of your face,” Humphrey said. “We didn’t know where the man was, so we had to check every square inch.”

The man, believed to be about 35 years old, was found near the hallway of one of the units and was carried outside. He had burns on 85% of his body and was hospitalized in critical condition.

Two other victims who had been in or near the same apartment unit made it outside on their own, Humphrey said. One, a man about 50 years old, suffered a foot injury. The other, described as a young woman, showed signs of minor respiratory distress. They also were taken to area hospitals.

The building had 24 units and 63 occupants. Humphrey said some of the occupants may need housing assistance from the Red Cross.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

[Updated, 11:05 p.m.: LAFD has now confirmed a total of four people were injured, including a woman about 58 years old who was in serious condition after suffering smoke inhalation.

Humphrey also updated the approximate ages for the other three victims. The man in critical condition is about 28 years old. The man with the foot injury is about 45 years old. The victim with minor respiratory distress is a girl about 14 years old.]


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Photo: A fire burns in a Koreatown apartment building. Credit: Armand Emamdjomeh / Los Angeles Times  via Twitter