HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Engineer and music producer Nathan Avery Drift, known as Avery Drift, has been identified as the victim who died in a fire at a two-story building on the 6600 block of West Lexington Avenue on Thursday, May 19.
A fire burned through a building containing small, individual recording studios and claimed the life of Drift and left two victims suffering from reported respiratory problems related to smoke exposure.
Sharon Osbourne confirmed via Instagram that her daughter, Aimee Osbourne, and her producer were inside one of the recording studios at the time of the blaze.
“They are the lucky two that made it out alive,” Osbourne posted on Instagram. “It is utterly heartbreaking that someone lost their life today in this fire & we are sending our prayers to this person & their family,” Osbourne said. “I really hope moving forward that buildings like this are better regulated for fire safety,” Osbourne continued.
At around 5:42 p.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department sent out an alert that there was smoke at a two-story building. Seventy-eight firefighters responded to the scene and found smoke showing, LAFD Spokesperson Nicholas Prange said in a written statement.
“There was an abundance of small individual recording studios inside, creating a very compartmentalized layout, which was extremely challenging to navigate and crawl through in zero visibility,” Prange said. “Additionally, the studios had sound-deadening thick walls, extra insulation, double drywall, and thick windows. While this design was intended to keep the sound from escaping, it also excelled at keeping the smoke and heat from escaping.”
Firefighters “took an intense beating,” but were able to extinguish the fire in 51 minutes. LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said that studio equipment made the fire difficult to put out, ABC7 reported.
Two victims – later confirmed as Aimee Osbourne and her producer – were found suffering from smoke inhalation injuries; paramedics treated them at the scene. The LAFD discovered the remains of one person – later identified as Avery Drift – during their systematic interior search of the building.
A hip-hop artist, and rapper known as Maxxamillion told ABC7 that he lost his entire recording studio and $50,000 worth of equipment. He was not inside the building at the time.
Music producer Jamal Rajad tried to grab everything he could from his studio but lost four cats in the blaze, ABC7 reported.
Rajad reportedly aided Aimee Osbourne and her producer to safety while they were attempting to escape the building with zero visibility due to the smoke. He said he wished that he knew Drift was inside his studio at the time. “I tried to save everything and everyone (sic) I coulda made it to your door bro (sic) deeply hurt,” Rajad commented on Drift’s Instagram account.
Drift was described as someone “going places” and with “good energy.” He ran a studio, called Trippy Studio LA, and engineered and produced R&B and Hip Hop music.
A candlelight vigil was held for Drift over the weekend.
According to a statement by LAFD, firefighters discovered marijuana upstairs, which appeared to be a grow operation.
“LAFD’s Fire Prevention Bureau was notified and Fire Inspectors from the Cannabis Unit responded to review previous records, inspect the building, help determine if this was legal, and (in a joint effort with Fire Investigators) determine if it contributed to the cause of the fire,” officials stated.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.