Fire Consumes Business Near Freeway in Echo Park

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fire crews on Tuesday night extinguished a stubborn blaze that ripped through a commercial building near the Hollywood Freeway in Echo Park. Annette Arreola reports for Today in LA on Wednesday Oct. 10, 2012.

    Fire crews on Tuesday night extinguished a stubborn blaze that ripped through a commercial building near the Hollywood (101) Freeway in Echo Park, authorities said.

    The fire broke out shortly before 10 p.m. at 1625 Palo Alto Street near the Union Avenue on-ramp. Officials initially located the blaze at 424 North Belmonth Avenue.

    By 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday, some 125 firefighters had knocked down the fire. Five of them were assessed at the scene for possible injuries, said Brian Humphrey with LAFD. All five were deemed OK and returned to the firefight, Humphrey said.

    Two right lanes on the southbound side of the freeway were closed while crews battled the blaze, which consumed a building and a grassy area surrounding it. Traffic was backed up for miles late Tuesday.

    At about 10:30 p.m., fire crews were ordered to evacuate the burning building, according to aerial communications. An hour later, crews returned to the building and were fighting the blaze from the inside as well as the outside.

    No injuries or missing persons were immediately reported, Humphrey said.

    The building appeared to house a car title and loan company as well as a print shop. A sign above the building read "Need Cash Now." That signage was engulfed in flames and hung perilously over the side of the roof.

    Fire officials said they discovered what appeared to be a homeless encampment nearby.

    Residents in Echo Park reported seeing plumes of smoke billowing from the area and smelling smoke. Winds at the scene are calm and fire officials said this is the only blaze they're battling in the LA Basin.