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Fire In Los Angeles Palomar hote ; Two Dead

16 August 2001

Los Angeles, CA-- At least two people have died this morning in an explosion and fire that is being called "suspicious." At least six (6) others were reported injured, including four firefighters. The fire broke out at about 03:45PDT in the Palomar Hotel, located at 5400 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. A joint LAPD/LAFD arson task force is investigating the cause of the fire.

There is going to be an investigation, however, because the fire department says no doubt about it, this fire is suspicious. In fact, when firefighters arrived on the scene, they said that all four floors of the Palomar Hotel at Santa Monica and Western were completely engulfed in flames. That's very unusual to arrive at a fire scene with that much damage. And as a result of that, when firefighters tried to enter the building, several of them were going up a stairwell and it collapsed. One firefighter seriously injured. He fell from the fourth floor all the way down to the second floor landing. However, none of the injuries are life threatening,

Updated
22 August 2001

Hotel Blast Caused by 'Accelerant'...

Los Angeles, CA -- Sources close to the investigation of the Palomar hotel fire are telling EmergencyNet News there is evidence to suggest that the explosion and fire was caused by the "ignition of an accelerant." The force of the blast reportedly propelled pieces of glass and window frames a large distance from the building, a source close to the investigation told EmergencyNet News. There were no suspects or motives immediately identified by investigators, but they are said to be exploring several leads. EmergencyNet News is monitoring events in Los Angeles and will provide additional details as circumstances warrant

Some eyewitness testimony;

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw a lady jumping from the building?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, from the window of one of the apartments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was two kids that were saved. There was a lady on the third floor and they had two kids up there. And the firemen could only go up so far and she handed two of the kids to the fireman and he brought them down. And when he went up for the third time for the lady, she couldn't make it anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... jumping -- like from fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me -- start from the beginning, what did you hear? What did you see? And then -- and then get to that part.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was at home and then I just felt like an earthquake and like this started like shaking. And I came outside and I saw the fire up and I came out to check. Then we saw this lady jumping and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw a lady jumping from the building?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, from the window of one of the apartments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was two kids that were saved. There was a lady on the third floor and they had two kids up there. And the firemen could only go up so far and she handed two of the kids to the fireman and he brought them down. And when he went up for the third time for the lady, she couldn't make it anymore. She just jumped out the window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So she just couldn't stand the heat or the flame?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The heat and the smoke. I mean she couldn't breathe anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you thinking when you saw this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was hoping she wouldn't jump because it's three stories up, and I think she died. She had to die because there was three stories high and she just jumped out the window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One guy was telling me that there was one lady with her two kids that they never saw come out. And downstairs, the manager lived there. He worked there with his newborn baby, two months, and two little girls, 9 and 12, the wife and some other foster children. And I had never -- they -- it was just destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

LIN: And here is the scene live right now as the firefighters begin to assess the damage. They do have this fire completely extinguished. They are now going room to room, window to window, looking for missing people. Not everybody has yet been accounted for.

There is going to be an investigation, however, because the fire department says no doubt about it, this fire is suspicious. In fact, when firefighters arrived on the scene, they said that all four floors of the Palomar Hotel at Santa Monica and Western were completely engulfed in flames. That's very unusual to arrive at a fire scene with that much damage. And as a result of that, when firefighters tried to enter the building, several of them were going up a stairwell and it collapsed. One firefighter seriously injured. He fell from the fourth floor all the way down to the second floor landing. However, we are being told that none of the injuries are life threatening, but they still don't exactly know what his status is, clearly could have some pretty serious injuries in a situation like that.

Lots of different speculation and rumors about what may have caused this explosion -- some sort of an explosion. The firefighters have been hearing that people were saying that they heard a car crash but no evidence to that as you look at the exterior of the building right now.

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