Eight firefighters were injured battling the intense, 14-hour-plus fire at a storage facility in Venice that was finally put out just before 10 am yesterday.
The fire was declared out at 9:56 am, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Firefighters remained there, pumping out water, looking for hot spots and removing belongings and merchandise stored in the building, a few blocks east of Venice Beach.
The blaze was reported at 7:37 p.m. Saturday at Extra Space Storage, 658 Venice Blvd. Arriving firefighters found black smoke billowing from the two- story facility, Humphrey said. The bulk of active flame was controlled within six hours.
One firefighter suffered a back injury and heat blisters, and two were slightly burned. The other injuries were heat exhaustion, as the confined spaces, concrete walls, steel doors and metal ceilings confronted firefighters with blast oven-like heat in contained spaces.
Three of the firefighters required hospital care and were expected to be released late yesterday, Humphrey said.
Belongings locked behind steel doors in hundreds of upper-floor storage units were igniting due to the heat, forcing firefighters to use diamond-tipped rotary saws to open dozens of locked metal doors and cut through exterior stucco walls to allow horizontal ventilation, firefighters said.
“Firefighters battled until they were low on air and had to exit to get new air bottles, then rejoined the fight,” the LAFD’s Erik Scott said.
“Continual waves of additional firefighters were repeatedly ordered.”
As the fire fight continued, Venice Boulevard remained closed to traffic between Abbott Kinney and Lincoln boulevards.
The building’s metal roof hampered vertical ventilation efforts and caused the fire to burn extremely hot, Scott said.
Late Saturday, firefighters took up a defensive posture, pouring water on the flames from outside the building, Scott said. More than 365 firefighters worked through the night battling the blaze.
“We do not anticipate that business patrons will be able to safely access their private storage units until Monday,” Humphrey said.
Despite the difficult conditions, firefighters were able to hold direct fire damage to a third of the building’s rental storage units, he said.
People with items stored at the facility began showing up outside the business after dawn today.
One man told reporters at the scene that all of his antiques had been stored inside and another said he wasn’t holding out much hope recovering his belongings because they were stored in a part of the structure that sustained extensive damage.