Arson investigators were looking into whether a fire early Tuesday at an apartment in South Los Angeles that displaced a family was set intentionally, fire authorities said.
A 12-year-old boy was sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation after flames were reported before 1 a.m. in the second floor of the two-story unit in the 1700 block of E. 55th Street, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
It took 13 minutes for crews to extinguish the fire, which displaced a family -- a mother and her seven kids -- out of the apartment, fire authorities said. The oldest son was taken to the hospital and was expected to recover.
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The single mother -- who did not wish to be identified -- told NBC4 she has been receiving death threats from neighbors for months because her family has been on welfare ever since her husband was deported two years ago.
"They think I have the rent free, which I don't, but that's what they think," she said.
She believes one of them threw some sort of explosive into her upstairs window, where broken glass could be seen after the fire.
The mother was thankful that all her children were safe Tuesday morning.
"I feel grateful that they're flesh and bone and not ashes right now, the babies," she said.
The Red Cross was assisting her family Tuesday morning by helping them find a safe place to stay.