- Terelle Jerricks
SAN PEDRO — Fourteen people, including three critically injured, were hospitalized after fire that started about 3:30 a.m. Jan. 22, at the Palos Verdes Inn in San Pedro. One victim died after the fire. The Los Angeles Police refused to release the name of the fire victim that died until all of the next of kin had been notified.
Many of those that were injured came as a result of smoke inhalation and residents jumping from the second story windows to flee the fast moving inferno. Arson investigators have gotten involved precisely because of the speed in which it spread.
It took 150 firefighters 34 minutes to extinguish the blaze, in the 90-year old building. Television news reports showed flames engulfing the interiors of some rooms.
Some witnesses, who asked not to be identified, believed the fire was intentionally set, citing the ongoing crime and safety issues at the building, ranging from gang altercations, drug dealing and drug use. Residents say none of the fire alarms seemed to work at the single-room occupancy hotel.
According to the Los Angeles Fire Department public information officer, Eric Scott, firefighters returning from a nearby medical call saw smoke at the hotel before any 9-1-1 call had been received. Seven rooms were damaged, two of them extensively, Scott said.