South LA Community Devastated After Well-Liked Man, Dogs, Die in Fire

Firefighters discovered the body after the fire at San Pedro and 80th streets

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A well-liked man and his dog were found dead after his small, cramped apartment in a South Los Angeles auto shop caught fire early Sunday. Residents paid their respects Sunday afternoon. Reggie Kumar reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 13, 2013. (Published Sunday, Jun 16, 2013)

    A man found dead early Sunday after an automotive repair shop fire in South Los Angeles had been residing in a converted living space inside the densely packed business, which did not have smoke alarms or a spinkler system.

    Firefighters discovered the body in a building at 80th and San Pedro streets (map), where crews responded at about 1:40 a.m. Fire officials said the victim was residing in a makeshift living space within the 900-square foot building.

    Those in the community mourned victim, a man they knew as "Victor," who was a fixture in the neighborhood.

    Lillie Jordan, a friend of Victor's, said she smelled gas near his home soon before the blaze. She asked him about it, and he just told her not to worry, she told NBC4.

    Omar Arias, 13, called 911 after smelling smoke.

    "We heard a guy yelling "help" in Spanish," Arias said.

    The makeshift living space did not have smoke detectors or sprinklers inside and was locked with a double-cylinder deadbolt lock, which isn't permitted in residential homes, according to the LAFD.

    About 30 firefighters knocked down the fire in 13 minutes. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

    A passerby reported the fire at 8002 South San Pedro St. Firefighters forced their way through metal security doors and thick faced floor-to-ceiling smoke.

    The body was found just inside the doorway, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The front security door was equipped with a double-cylinder deadbolt, which requires a key to enter or exit the building.

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