One Killed in Mid-City Fire Caused by a Space Heater

Residents described desperate attempts to get out of the burning building

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Tenants and guests rushed from a burning building overnight as firefighters converged on a blaze that left one person dead and four people injured.

One man remains in critical condition. Two other adults are in serious condition and one was in fair condition following the fire that burned on both floors of the Venice Hotel in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles.

I was not worried about things. I was worried about my life.

Hotel resident D.A.

The cause was likely a space heater, according to fire officials. The electric heater was apparently near combustible material, fire officials said at a Friday morning news conference.

The coroner's office identified the victim as 62-year-old Paul Bisland, of Los Angeles.

Firefighters were called to the hotel at 8686 Venice Boulevard, near Cattaraugus Avenue, just after 2 a.m. and discovered fire burning in several rooms, according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

“I saw smoke when I looked out my door, so I started running to everybody’s door and knocking on their door yelling, ‘Fire, fire, fire,'" said Tamu Khalfani, who lives at the hotel. "Three minutes later, it would’ve been too late."


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Resident Narayana Cabral captured his search for his mom on cellphone video.

One resident said he heard the faint sound of a smoke alarm at about 2 a.m.

"Then I heard someone yell fire," said D.A., who has lived at the hotel for about three months. "I grabbed my wallet. I grabbed my shoes. And, I ran out."

When he arrived downstairs, the gate did not open, D.A. said. Another man pried away a section of fencing, allowing people to escape.

"It was flight," he added. "I was not worried about things. I was worried about my life."

After the fire was extinguished, a man sought medical care from paramedics for cuts he suffered, Humphrey said. The ages and names of those taken to a hospital were not disclosed.

A firefighter was evaluated for non-life-threatening respiratory issues.

A total of 105 firefighters extinguished the flames in 39 minutes and a knockdown was declared at 2:43 a.m., Humphrey said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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