Main blamed some of the blaze's intensity on the “exposed wood” of the under-construction building.

The 1:20 a.m. blaze drew about one-quarter of the city's on-duty firefighters, 250 in all, and wasn't declared finished until 3:56 a.m., LAFD officials said. It erupted nearly across the street from the department's Fire Station 3 at 108 N. Fremont Ave., authorities said.

Firefighters literally looked out the door to find a building fully involved, fire officials said. Hot spots remained well into the afternoon.

“Once the on-scene personnel are able to safely enter, they’ll determine what investigative resources are needed,” the ATF's Davis said.

The property appears to abut an intersection of the 110 and 101 freeways, and portions of both roadways were shut down for a time this morning as a precaution. Fire officials feared that parts of the charred, 526-unit structure would fall onto lanes.

Flames could be seen for miles, inspiring spectacular photographs and video. Flames caused at least 160 windows at the nearby L.A. Department of Water and Power John Ferraro Building to crack, officials said.

And an adjacent city building at 221 N. Figueroa St. was damaged by fire and by sprinkler water, authorities said.

The Da Vinci is a project of controversial downtown-area developer Geoff Palmer, known for his new-Italianate apartment complexes.

In 2003 it was alleged that Palmer's firm illegally razed the last single-family home in Bunker Hill, an 1887 Queen Anne–style structure that appeared to be on property adjacent to the Da Vinci complex.

If that Da Vinci fire wasn't enough for first responders to deal with, at 4:09 a.m. another major blaze was reported a mile and a half away at a commercial building at 2871 W. Seventh St. in the Westlake neighborhood.

LA Weekly