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Cause of Koreatown apartment fire probed; 4 hurt, 1 severely

September 18, 2012 |  7:41 am

Koreatown fire
This post has been corrected; please see note at bottom for details.

Los Angeles fire investigators were trying to determine Tuesday what caused a fire in a 24-unit Koreatown apartment building that left one man severely burned and three other people injured.

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

Firefighters kicked in several 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, about 28-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, a girl about 14-years-old, showed signs of minor respiratory distress. They also were taken to hospitals.

A woman about 58-years-old suffered smoke inhalation and was hospitalized in serious condition, according to a fire department report.

[For the Record, Sept. 18, 10:28 a.m.: A previous version of this post provided the victims' ages as if they were definitive, but authorities said they were approximate ages. The previous version omitted a byline, which has been added.]


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