A Los Angeles Fire Department crew made quick work of a small fire that broke out in a vacant unit at the Japanese Village Plaza late Tuesday afternoon.
Shortly after 5:30 p.m., an automatic alarm sounded as the adjacent units, the Foot Land shoe store and Las Galas restaurant, began to fill with smoke. At least one smoke detector in the empty store had been covered with tape, reportedly to allow construction work to take place without constantly setting it off.
LAFD Capt. Theodore Smyj told the Rafu that the burning was confined to a pile of rubbish in the center of the commercial unit, which was formerly a beauty salon. He said the space was quite clean otherwise and speculated that the work crew who had been there earlier in the day may have left a burning cigarette or volatile chemicals near the combustible debris.
After punching through the ceiling tiles of the neighboring stores, fire crews were forced to smash the glass and bars of the locked door of the vacant unit to gain entry. They pulled out smoldering boxes, acoustic tiles and scorched fluorescent lighting units that had been stacked on the floor at the source of ignition.
Smyj added that this was the third time this week that LAFD had responded to an automatic alarm at JVP.
Another JVP tenant said that construction workers had been drilling for much of the day, making a great deal of noise and creating a smell of burning material.
—Mikey Hirano Culross