We're not used to too many scary high-rise fires in L.A. So when the 25-story Barrington Plaza apartment building in West Los Angeles went up in flames Oct. 18, it was a major news event.
And after a young child was hospitalized in critical condition as a result of smoke inhalation – and her mother cried in agony on local television – people wanted to know exactly why it happened.
Last night the Los Angeles Fire Department announced it might just have an idea. Although the official cause of the 11:43 a.m. blaze at 11740 Wilshire Blvd. is “undetermined,” the LAFD stated that arson investigators concluded the source was “most probably discarded smoking material.”
The fire blackened the 11th floor hallway outside the two-bedroom apartment that was the source of the blaze, sending residents of the circa-1961, 386-unit building fleeing into stairwells, at least one of which apparently filled with smoke.
Some ended up on the roof. Eight were taken to hospitals.
214 LAFD firefighters and rescuers were at the scene and had the blaze out in 45 minutes, the LAFD said.
Because of the building's age, it did not have built-in fire sprinklers, the fire department told us.
So will whomever was responsible for that “discarded smoking material” face possible arrest? It doesn't seem likely. LAFD spokesman Erik Scott told us, “I'm unaware of any prosecution.”
Is the case closed forever? “I'm not going that far to say that,” he said.