Massive LA Fire Treated as Arson
Building under construction was controversial for pedestrian bridge
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2014 5:50 PM CST
Los Angeles County firefighters battle a fire at an apartment building under construction next to the Harbor CA-110 Freeway in Los Angeles, early Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A huge blaze that destroyed an apartment tower under construction in downtown Los Angeles overnight is being investigated as possible arson, the LA Times reports. Such big fires are always treated as criminal acts, a fire captain says, but "it's very rare for the entire building to be engulfed at once. There may have been some foul play." The 1.3-million-square-foot DaVinci apartment complex broke out in flames at 1:30am, bursting nearby windows, melting freeway signs, and shutting down much downtown traffic. "It looked like a bomb had just exploded," says another fire captain. Arson investigators were at the scene with dogs and say they plan to look over the building's financial records.

The DaVinci plan generated controversy earlier this year for including a pedestrian bridge that would let residents walk to various attractions downtown, notes an earlier Times story. Developers admitted that the bridge would shield residents from downtown's considerable homeless population, but critics derided the plan for "vilifying" the homeless. Today the surrounding streets were filled with gawkers and stranded workers alike. One woman holding a lunch pail was only allowed to pass a police officer after explaining that her office was nearby. "Do I still get paid if my building burned down?" she asked with a shrug.