Cause of deadly Echo Park fire remains undetermined

Echo Park, fire

Ruins of Echo Park apartment building.

After a fire swept through an Echo Park apartment house and killed two people last December, officials with the L.A. Fire Department called the blaze  “suspicious” as arson investigators inspected the ruins of the Bonnie Brae Street building.  But more than three months after the Dec. 12 fire,  LAFD arson investigators have not figured out what caused the fire. “After its investigation, the LAFD Arson Section has listed the cause of the fire as ‘undetermined,'”  department spokesman Peter Sanders said in an email on Wednesday. He had no further details.

The blaze broke out shortly after midnight in a 101-year-old building at 1031 N. Bonnie Brae.   Most of the tenants were able to escape the fast-moving fire, but two persons, 90-year-old Rose Aurora Amaya and 24-year-old Diego Alberto Calzada perished in the blaze.  Amaya died from burns to her body; Calzada was killed by smoke inhalation, according to the L.A. County Coroner.

About two dozen people were left without homes after fire.   Hidden behind other apartment buildings at the back of the lot, the 1913 structure was originally built as a four-bedroom house but had over the decades been subdivided into 11 apartments, an LAFD spokesman said last December.

Echo Park, fire

January 2014 photo of victims’ memorial

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