Boyle Heights fire still under investigation

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire that damaged an auto repair shop in the Boyle Heights area early Monday morning that left two dead and two others critically injured, authorities said today.

Updated at 12:09 p.m. | Permalink

Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said today that the victims found in the building have been identified as Alejandro Ramirez, 44, of Rosemead and a 30-year-old man from East Los Angeles. The identity of the second victim will be released pending family notification. The official coroner's report is not yet completed and will be released later.

Originally published at 11:55 a.m. | Permalink

More than 100 firefighters were sent to a shop near the 800 S. Esperanza block around 6:45 a.m. Monday morning, said Devin Gales, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

There was heavy smoke and fire in the building, but firefighters were able to knock down the fire in shortly over an hour, Gales confirmed.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined. The Los Angeles Police Department said that the building is being treated as a crime scene.

It will take time for authorities to release an official report.

“This fire is the top priority for investigators,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said, but he said that it will require patience with the process.

“We really want to do the right thing,” Humphrey said. “We really want to make sure what caused the fire in the sole interest of preventing it happening again.”

While investigators are still trying to determine what first sparked the fire, it may have gotten out of control when rescuers weren’t called immediately. The Associated Press reported Monday that people delayed calling 911 and tried putting out the fire with a garden hose first.

The bodies of two men have been found in the building, authorities confirmed. There is no official coroner's report available yet, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

A 61-year-old man was transported in critical condition to the hospital, suffering from first and second degree burns. He told witnesses on the scene that he was a security guard for the building, Humphrey said. Another man in his 40s was also sent in critical condition to a nearby hospital with burns to 30 percent of his body, fire officials confirmed.