Los Angeles

ATF Pledges “No Stone Unturned” in DTLA Fire Investigation

Officials describe the destruction as "a city block burned to the ground"

Los Angeles fire officials have "beefed up" the team of investigators looking into what may have caused a massive fire at an under-construction apartment building in downtown Los Angeles.

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms joined Los Angeles Fire Department and LAPD teams on Wednesday to begin looking into the cause of Monday morning's fire, which is estimated to have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said the investigation, which could take weeks or months, is not being treated as a criminal investigation, but officials are "have not ruled anything out yet."

"Upon (firefighters) leaving their corridors which is literally across the street, this structure was heavily involved in fire," Terrazas said. "That's unusual, to have that much fire all at the same time."

A specially trained Labrador named Major will help investigators by searching in the destruction for ignitable liquids that may have spread the flames. Officials are hoping a rainstorm approaching the region won't hamper their efforts.

Flames consumed the seven-story, wood-framed structure and radiated enough heat to shatter the windows of office towers on Figueroa Street, reaching inside to melt computers onto desks. The LADWP building had cracks in at least 160 of its 10-by-4-foot windows.

"We beefed up the team a little bit as a result of the magnitude and size of the scene," ATF Special Agent in Charge Carlos Canino said during a news conference Wednesday.

"You can see, it's a city block burned to the ground," Canino said. "With that, we're all in ... All hands on deck."

Canino said response teams called the fire a "seven to an eight" on a scale from one to 10.

"If we need to bring people in from all over the country, we will," Canino said. "We will spare no expense. We will leave no stone unturned in there. We want to get to the bottom of this."

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