East Hollywood building declared a total loss after massive fire

A mixed-use commercial building in East Hollywood is considered a total loss after a massive fire Tuesday caused extensive structural damage, officials said.
   
The blaze, which began around 7:10 a.m. in the electrical room and attic of the building at 5488 W. Santa Monica Blvd., forced firefighters outside the building and off the roof and "into a defensive fire attack" mode, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The buliding in Little Armenia, built before 1933, contained a Payless Shoe store and a restaurant, among others, and was topped by a cellular tower on the roof. Both the weight of the tower and the building's age created concerns about its structural integrity as firefighters took up position around it.
   
Firefighters were eventually able to bring the fire under control, going in with hand lines into the interior and knocking it down one hour and 38 minutes later.

Despite a three-minute response time and the presence of 153 firefighters on the scene, the fire had rendered the building a total loss, officials reported. Firefighters were, however, able to stop the blaze from spreading to an adjacent two-story commercial building.

No injuries were reported.

Fire investigators had not determined the exact cause of the fire as of Wednesday, but deemed it accidental in nature.