14-Hour Fire Burns Memories at Venice Storage Facility (PHOTOS)
The bad news is that eight firefighters were injured in a 14-hour blaze that roared through a Venice storage facility over the weekend.
The good news: The injured first responders sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to the L.A. Fire Department's Erik Scott. And only about a third of the storage units burned, fire officials said.
Still, it would take at least until today when the facility would be open to customers who want to see if their stuff got charred.
One man told Fox 11 News he had three units on the 80,874-square-foot Extra Space Storage business at 658 Venice Blvd. They contained antiques worth $200,000, furnishings and goods intended as inheritance for a relative, he said.
Kelly Carlin, daughter of late comedic giant George Carlin, said via Twitter that she was lucky she moved her father's archives from the facility about three years ago.
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The blaze was reported at 7:37 p.m. Saturday, Scott said. It reportedly started in a unit that was on the second of three floors at the facility near Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Authorities shut down busy Venice Boulevard as engine companies and tankers moved in and camped out for the epic battle.
The building's concrete floors, steel doors and metal ceilings created hot-box conditions and made it difficult for firefighters to ventilate the structure. Scott said "rotary saws with diamond tip blades" were used to ventilate smoke.
Three-hundred-sixty-five firefighters battled the blaze at one point or another, he said: Their presence was "rotational" because heat and black smoke added up to limited time on the front lines for the first responders.
"Waves of additional firefighters were continuously assigned through the night to battle the intense and challenging fire," Scott said. " ... Firefighters battled until they were low on air, and had to exit to get new air-bottles, then rejoined the fight."
Three of the injured firefighters were treated at hospitals and were expected to be released Sunday, said the LAFD's Brian Humphrey. Heat exhaustion appeared to be the most common malady.
While Humphrey said "the bulk of active flame was controlled within 6 hours," the stubborn fire smoldered until an official knock-down time of 9:56 a.m. yesterday. That added up to a 14 hour, 19 minute battle.
Firefighters were still at the scene mopping up late Sunday. Arson investigators were at the facility, too. A cause had yet to be announced.
"Loss to the building's contents, which included many family heirlooms, is inestimable," Scott said.
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