Weekend Commercial Fires Result in Civilian, Firefighter Injuries and Extensive Damage

Long Beach firefighters had a busy weekend when a vacant building caught fire Saturday and a storage facility went ablaze late Sunday night.

The first commercial fire was reported Saturday, August 19 at 4:45PM on Atlantic Avenue near 11th Street.

A 27-year-old man who had been sleeping in the building was injured climbing out of a second-story window to escape the flames.

The victim suffered from smoke inhalation and a head injury and was taken to a local hospital, according to Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) spokesman Jake Heflin.

Two firefighters were also hospitalized with minor injuries.

The fire was put out by 5:10PM. The cause remains under investigation.

The second incident occurred Sunday, August 20 at the Extra Space Storage facility in the 2000 block of West Wardlow Road.

The third-alarm fire, which was reported at 11:50PM, damaged more than 100 units at the facility and resulted in a response from firefighters from LBFD and other agencies.

Arriving firefighters reported heavy fire showing from multiple storage units, Heflin said. At 12:10AM they decided to carry out defensive operations—battling the blaze from the interior—to protect surrounding structures while training water on the flames.

They called for additional firefighters, making it a third-alarm assignment at 12:17AM, Heflin said, with more than 75 firefighters from Long Beach, Los Angeles County and other area departments either working on the fire or staffing vacant fire stations.

Heflin said all the materials being stored constituted “an extra fuel load” feeding the blaze.

By 4:15AM, the bulk of the flames had been extinguished, and salvage and overhaul operations were underway, as firefighters poured water on the rubble.

“There is a lot of overhaul to do,” Heflin told City News Service after daybreak. “There is no official knockdown time. We will be here awhile.”

One firefighter suffered a shoulder injury while battling the blaze and was treated at a hospital and released, according to Heflin.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.
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