Man in Police Custody After Fireplace in Westlake Constructing – NBC Los Angeles

Authorities think a large fire at a Westlake building was intentionally set.

The fire in a building at the 2800 W 7th St. was reported just before 5:30 pm, producing thick, black smoke that could be seen for miles. More than 100 firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze in 53 minutes, the LAFD said.

The fire happened during what the LAFD said was a Los Angeles Police Department “operation” at the structure, which houses business on the first floor, as well as what the LAFD said are about eight homes on the second floor.

The LAPD said before the fire, a 45-year-old man had barricaded himself in a second-floor apartment. Cellphone video showed him wielding a knife. The man was also throwing items like clothes and furniture at police, LAPD Capt. Aaron Ponce said. He added that the man lit some clothes and trash on fire before tossing them at officers.

The department managed to evacuate the building prior to the blaze. The man was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and was in LAPD custody.

The damage, however, had already been done for people like Caroline Oswalt, who lived or worked at the building.

“That’s my home. I’m young and that was the first time living by myself and creating a life for myself,” Oswalt said.

The LAPD said the man suspected of setting the fire faces potential charges of assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer, as well as Arson.

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