Federal ATF Agents to Join LAFD in L.A. Fire Investigation

A multiagency investigation was underway into the cause of a massive fire in downtown Los Angeles that ripped through an unfinished apartment complex and damaged at least three surrounding high-rise buildings, reports KTLA 5.

Photos by Rick McClure: Huge Los Angeles Fire

Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were expected to arrive Wednesday to begin working with L.A. city fire arson investigators to determine what caused the fire, which started early Monday at a huge apartment building under construction near the four-level interchange of the 101 and 110 freeways.

“This has not been determined a crime scene, rather it is an investigative scene,” said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scot in an emailed update. “After a thorough investigation, it will be determined if the fire was incendiary or accidental in cause.”

Initial cost estimates predicted damage to the downtown area would be at least $10 million. California Department of Transportation officials estimated damage to the roadway, metal signs and fiber-optic cables underneath local freeways would cost about $1.5 million.

As the smell of smoke lingered in the downtown area, Caltrans crews worked throughout the night to remove rubble from the roadways. The 110 Freeway was fully reopened around 5:20 a.m.

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