Two weeks before Christmas, some 20 residents are without a home, two remain hospitalized and two perished after a fire raced through an apartment building in Echo Park Thursday.
The fire was reported about 12:18 a.m. at the two-story building in the 1000 block of North Bonnie Brae Avenue, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
The bungalow-style complex is made up of multiple buildings, possibly four, fire officials said. The building in the rear went up in flames.
Some 100 firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze in about an hour. Three people were hurt in the fire; two of them were taken to the hospital for injuries, officials said.
Firefighters found two bodies inside of the building after they knocked down the fire, LAFD Deputy Chief Mario Reuda said.
One of the victims who died was identified as 90-year-old Rosa Aurora Fonseca, who lived alone. She was trapped inside by the flames, officials said.
The other fatality was that of a man who was not identified. A witness said he was told to jump from the building, but did not do so.
Video from the scene showed flames bursting out of the top of the building, and at least 25 residents could be seen waiting outside in their pajamas as firefighters battled the blaze.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, and officials were treating it as a "criminal fire" that was "suspicious in nature."
LAPD Robbery-Homicide detectives and LAFD arson investigators were investigating the scene Thursday morning.
LAFD officials said the apartment building appeared to be a converted Victorian home.
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