Major Emergency High Rise Fire in Downtown Los Angeles

Monday, January 24, 2022

The quick knockdown of fire in a ground floor restaurant prevented flames from making their way up a 27 story, mixed-use high rise in Downtown Los Angeles.

At 8:29AM on January 24, 2022 the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 255 S. Grand Ave in Downtown Los Angeles.

Upon arrival, firefighters saw heavy, white pressurized smoke billowing out from the ground floor restaurant in a 27 story, high rise building. Due to the size of the structure and high potential for life hazard, an additional five task forces were requested to include the airborne firefighting companies.

A “High Rise” incident command system was initiated and the first arriving company immediately entered the building as fire attack. The next fire company established “Lobby Control” and assessed the status of all elevators and fire alarms throughout the building.

Fortunately, fire attack was able to quickly extinguish the fire in the restaurant, which was under renovation, preventing any extension or progression into the floors above. Firefighter/paramedics located one adult male outside the building with significant, critical burn injuries. The patient had been working within the restaurant under renovation. He was provided immediate advanced lifesaving medical care and transported to a burn treatment hospital.

Once firefighters confirmed there was no remaining fire, the incident shifted to the search and evacuation phase because smoke was infiltrating the building and visible exiting the top at the roof line.

The large building, built in 1988, comprised several ground level restaurants with three floors of business and the remaining 23 floors of residential. A total of 391 residential units are home to over 700 people. There were numerous reports of people needing assistance both in their units and stuck elevators. All elevators were successfully recalled and a handful of people safely exited, none required any medical aid.

Firefighters ascended the stairwells to investigate the reports of people needing help and ensured all occupants were safe, providing whatever assistance was required. One adult female patient was transported, as a precaution, for smoke exposure. Individuals who evacuated up to the roof top were escorted back down through the stairwell and out of the building.

Ultimately, approximately 60 people were evacuated from the structure and remained out until the building was safely cleared of all smoke and deemed safe to occupy by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.

Over 120 firefighters were assigned to this incident, under the command of Assistant Chief Antoine McKnight.  

Per protocol for an incident of this nature, the LAFD Arson and Counter-Terrorism Section (ACTS) responded and it is an open, active investigation.

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