Building codes are rarely the easiest to follow, and a fire at a federally funded building in California that killed four people on Wednesday is the latest example of a complex legal and political quagmire.
The Associated Press reported that firefighters were called to the 3,800-square-foot, three-story, two-story brick building on a rural road near Los Angeles that was built in the 1960s and is owned by the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The AP said one firefighter, identified as John D. Schuette, died when the building was engulfed by flames and that the building is “in ruins.”
Two firefighters were injured in the fire, and officials said one of them was transported to a local hospital with smoke inhalation.
The Associated Press said one witness told the AP that the blaze erupted from the kitchen of a nearby apartment complex.
The building was being demolished for a $10 million redevelopment project when the fire broke out.
The cause of the blaze has not been determined, and the fire department did not immediately release information about the building’s occupants.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the cause of death for Schuettes brother was not immediately known.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said the building will be demolished, but the building owner, Pacific City Properties, said it was reviewing the request.
The agency declined to release the name of the owner, saying it could jeopardize future demolition work.
The Times reported:The fire broke in at 7:30 a.m. at the 3200 block of Route 26 near Rancho Santa Fe, where the county has about 8,000 residents.
It burned for hours before coming under control, and no structures were damaged.
Firefighters and authorities used gas masks to fight the blaze for hours, and were assisted by a bomb squad.
The building was gutted and the area is under an evacuation order.
The fire was one of four major fires that have engulfed California in recent months.
In December, a fire broke through a structure at the University of California, Davis, and consumed two buildings.
The University of Southern California was forced to evacuate after a fire burned in a building next door.
In April, a major fire broke a structure in a home on the outskirts of Los Angeles and damaged two buildings, including the university.
The fires have killed at least eight people, injured more than 50, and destroyed more than 100 structures.