Cellphone video captured the harrowing moments when neighbors helped Los Angeles motel guests escape a fast-moving fire that left five people hospitalized and dozens more displaced on Christmas Day.
Footage shows a group of people screaming and working together to help guests jump from a second-story window as flames spread through several units at the J.J. Park Motel at 1906 W. 3rd Street in the city’s Westlake neighborhood.
"All of everybody worked together to get people out the window," said motel resident Monica Nixon. "I was crying, I was praying.
"I could less about presents, I'm just happy we're all here in the flesh."
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The blaze was reported about 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said. It took about 100 firefighters 21 minutes to knock down the flames at the three-story motel.
Five people were injured, including two with severe burns, officials said.
"This is a very humble community, they don't have very muchy to begin with," said LAFD spokesman David Ortiz.
Several families were evacuated and left stranded in the cold on Christmas.
“The kids were just opening their presents, they were having a good time. We were all eating," said one guest.
Arson investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fire.
A guest said she left on a portable stove because it was cold.
The motel’s property managers planned to offer other units to the people who were displaced.