A woman was hospitalized in "grave" condition Wednesday morning following a fire that sent thick black smoke from an East Hollywood building that houses several businesses.
More than 80 firefighters responded to the fire in the 4800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard.
Aerial video showed firefighters transporting the woman from the building, which appeared to house a flower shop and other businesses, on a stretcher. The woman was hospitalized "grave" condition, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Smoke poured from several sides of the building before firefighters cut holes in the roof of the single-story structure, allowing smoke and heat out of the interior.
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"I got calls from friends and family saying that your shop's on fire," said Randy Paringit, who works at Red Bird Tattoo Shop.
Firefighters received reports of people trapped inside the building.
"Somewhat odd in a building like this because when the businesses aren't operating, there's not people in there," said Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Castro.
Firefighters searched inside the building and found the 40-year-old woman unconscious in the unit where they said the fire is believed to have started. She was in what firefighters described as a makeshift bedroom in the back of one of the businesses.
Paringit said he suspected people used the building as a place to sleep because he saw beds at the property.
"I've seen people, their cars parked there and they're in there," he said.
The build is not zoned or equipped for residential occupancy, said Castro. Structures with illegal units often lack property fire safety features, such as emergency exits and smoke alarms, he said.
The fire was knocked down after about 40 minutes. At least two business were damaged.
Police advised drivers to avoid the area near Santa Monica Boulevard and Edgemont Street.