Warehouse Fire With ‘Major Emergency’ Status

LOS ANGELES—On Tuesday, May 19, a structure fire broke out in a single-story “commercial block building,” that functioned as a warehouse for the textile wholesaler Lavitex, at 1914 South Mateo Street.

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) was called in at 3:51 a.m. to investigate an automatic fire alarm activation. Firefighters who arrived first had to force entry into the 200’ x 200’ building, and encountered thick smoke enveloping rolls of 15-feet-tall textiles throughout the structure. Some headed to the roof to carry out “strategic vertical ventilation,” while others remained inside to find the seat of the fire, using “handheld thermal imaging cameras.” The fire sprinklers had activated, making usage of the cameras more challenging.

112 LAFD personnel had been assigned to combat the fire by 4:43 a.m., changing its status to “Major Emergency.” The flames were only fully extinguished after over 90 minutes when firefighters managed to access a mezzanine area. Obstacles which the responders faced include densely-stored flammable textiles and a loading dock filled with waist-deep water.

Twitter user @Madison122200 commented that there have been “so many structure fires [in Los Angeles] lately” in response to a Tweet by the LAFD. 

View the LAFD’s announcement about the fire here.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.