When Los Angeles City firefighters rushed into the home on the 4800 block of Tilden Avenue at about 6:30 a.m., the two-story structure was completely engulfed. Flames were blowing out of the side door, and firefighters had to go through the flames to get inside the home. Once inside, firefighters said the home was so full of smoke that it was pitch black.
All four people inside the home, including a 58-year-old man, a 50-year-old woman, a 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, suffered serious injuries in the fire.
Firefighters were crawling on their knees through the house, trying to get around by touch. They were able to bump into the spiral staircase, which led them to the upstairs bedroom where the boy was found. The boy did not have a pulse and was not breathing when he was found.
"We just happened upon the stairwell," said Paul Schori of the L.A. City Fire Department. Schori said the spiral staircase was only about four feet in circumference, and the hand rail was completely burned off.
Firefighters went up a few steps, but they were forced back down by the heat, Schori said.
Firefighters said it was so hot inside the home that their helmets melted. Capt. Jeff Dapper said the fire was one of the hotter fires due to the plywood in the home. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
It took firefighters 37 minutes to declare a knockdown.