CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story cited reports from the fire department that people had jumped from the sixth floor to escape the fire. The fire department later corrected the statement, saying that people only “contemplated jumping.”
Authorities are investigating the cause of a raging fire in a 25-story residential high-rise Wednesday in Los Angeles that left 11 people injured, including a 3-month-old girl, the city’s fire department said.
“Right now, we’re labeling this a suspicious fire,” Los Angeles City Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said.
Arson investigators were on the scene, combing through debris and speaking with witnesses, public information officer Erik Scott said in an afternoon news conference. Investigators were looking into whether the fire could have been related to a similar blaze two hours earlier and three blocks away.
“Right now, there’s no information that they are connected,” Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg said. “The only reason we would look into that is because they’re close … in time and proximity.”
Terrazas initially said authorities had a suspect in custody, but Eisenberg later said no one was in custody. Eisenberg did not say whether a suspect had been held earlier in the day.
“It’s very, very early in this investigation,” Eisenberg said. “We don’t know really whether we have an arson or an accident at this time.”
Of the 11 people injured, six were taken to a local hospital, Scott said. One man, 30, required CPR and was in grave condition Wednesday afternoon. Another man, 30, was in critical condition. The four others taken to the hospital included a 26-year-old woman, a 25-year-old man, a 20-year-old woman and a 3-month-old girl, Scott said.
Most of the injured suffered from smoke exposure, but some may have been burned, Scott said.
Despite initial reports from the fire department that people had jumped from the sixth floor of the building to escape the blaze, officials later said no one had jumped.
“We had two people who had contemplated jumping,” Deputy Chief Armando Hogan said. “No one jumped. There are no fatalities at this incident.”
The department was able to contact people inside the building and instructed them to go to the roof for evacuation, Hogan said. Fifteen people were taken from the roof, Terrazas said.
The American Red Cross established an evacuation center for displaced residents at the Westwood Recreation Center.
More than 300 personnel and four helicopters responded to the blaze, the fire department said. Nearby Santa Monica Fire Department, the LAPD, the L.A. Sheriff and other agencies also responded.
The 240-unit Barrington Plaza high-rise, built in 1961, does not have a sprinkler system because it was constructed in an era when sprinklers weren’t mandatory, Terrazas said.
Authorities also were investigating whether the building’s smoke alarms were functioning and whether the building had been inspected recently, Scott said.
Personnel “knocked down” the fire just before 10 a.m., said Hogan, who called it a “herculean effort.” Firefighters were searching floor to floor for additional victims.
The fire broke out before 8:30 a.m. in the Sawtelle neighborhood. At the time, firefighters were still on the scene of a fire in a 26-story office building three blocks away.
The nearby fire started around 6:30 a.m. on the bottom three floors of the building. More than 50 building occupants were safely evacuated, and one man was taken to the hospital, the department said in a statement.
The Barrington Plaza high-rise is located along Wilshire Boulevard near a string of restaurants and gyms.
A fire that erupted on the 11th floor of the same building in 2013 displaced up to 150 residents and injured two people, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In 2014, 71 of the city’s roughly 200 residential high-rises didn’t have sprinkler systems installed, according to the Times.
Follow USA TODAY’s Grace Hauck on Twitter at @grace_hauck.