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Building Fire in South LA Causes Facade to Collapse, Injuring Firefighters

A large commercial building caught fire in South Los Angeles early Thursday morning, causing an awning to collapse and injuring multiple firefighters in the process.

Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters faced a challenge while battling the blaze at 460 West Manchester Avenue in Vermont Vista.

The LAFD received the call about a commercial fire in the area around 4:52 a.m., with heavy fire and smoke coming from the building, which at one point operated as a laundromat.

It was not clear whether the laundromat was still in operation.

Video posted to Citizen App showed large flames extending into the pre-dawn sky as cars passed by.

At least three firefighters sustained mild injuries as they contained the flames.

Brett Willis, battalion chief and incident commander for the LAFD, confirmed that the injured firefighters will be okay.

“At this point, we had three firefighers injured, all minor injuries,” he told NBC4. “One was transported to the hospital. The other two remained on scene, continued working at the incident.”

The building, approximately 50 by 100 feet in size, was vacant at the time of the fire, he said.

The injuries occurred by “a facade,” or awning, “in the parking lot area, that had a pretty rapid and sudden collapse,” he said.

“We had officers working in the area, they had early recognition of the hazards of the building, and were still injured by the collapse of that facade. It is scary, it’s hard for us to watch, but we train for it and the injuries are minor as a result of that,” he said.

He added that at least one firefighter was pushed to the ground by the falling facade, but was at no point trapped by the building’s partial collapse.

“The other two firefighters were hit by, more or less, flying debris from the facade breaking apart as it hit the ground.”

Traffic officers were redirecting cars from the area at the intersection of Figueroa and Manchester, and the roads were not expected to reopen for several hours as of 6:30 a.m.

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