Firefighters prevented a fire at a hookah lounge from spreading to a nearby four-story apartment building early Tuesday in East Hollywood.
More than 100 firefighters were called to the scene of the fire that started before 4 a.m. at a two-story strip mall in the 4600 block of West Fountain Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Video showed flames shooting from a hookah lounge, Hookah Patio, located on the second level of the mall. The fire spread through multiple units and the facade of the structure, threatening a 31-unit apartment building behind the mall, fire authorities said.
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"This fire certainly could have been much worse," LAFD Capt Erik Scott said.
Firefighters kept a curtain of water between the burning strip mall and the apartment complex next door, which helped keep the flames from spreading to the building. Smoke enveloped the building as the fire burned.
The fire was knocked down in 50 minutes.
After the smoke cleared, Gany Ruperto, owner of the family run restaurant Adobo Grill, described his loss as devastating.
"I saw that there's a lot of water damage," Ruperto said. "It's flooded, the ceiling tiles are broken."
Four businesses on the ground floor were yellow tagged, and owners were only allowed to enter their businesses while escorted by firefighters. Hookah Patio, where fire investigators think the fire started, was red tagged. The cause of the fire was classified as "undetermined" Tuesday morning.
The intersection of Fountain and Vermont was expected to be closed through the morning.