Firefighters Battle Blaze at 99 Cents Store

A three-alarm fire tore through a 99 Cents Only store in Hawthorne Friday afternoon, causing a minor injury to one of the approximately 150 firefighters that battled the blaze for nearly 2 1/2 hours.

The blaze was reported at 4:38 p.m. at 11811 S. Hawthorne Blvd. and went to two alarms within 10 minutes, according to Michael Pittman, dispatch supervisor with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Flames engulfed the building and leapt through its roof, which partially collapsed, as firefighters on the perimeter of the structure used hoses to douse the inferno.

Knockdown was declared at 7:03 p.m., Pittman said. One firefighter who suffered a minor burn injury to one of his hands was treated at a hospital and released, Pittman said. A third alarm was requested so initial responders could be relieved as the firefight continued, fire department Capt. Keith Mora said.

Surrounding buildings, including a CVS pharmacy and a Payless shoe store, were evacuated as a precaution, Mora said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Store workers were shocked and shoppers counted on a speedy comeback for their favorite neighborhood store.

"Hopefully they re-open," said Jessica Martinez. "It's like a landmark."

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