Investigators at the site of a house fire Tuesday in Mid-City that left a 36-year-old man dead. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / January 28, 2014)
A 36-year-old man who died Tuesday after a fire broke out in his Mid-City bedroom is the seventh person to be killed in a home fire so far this year in Los Angeles, officials said, and the latest to occur where no smoke detectors had been installed.
The fire Tuesday was first reported at 5:36 a.m. at 2305 South Orange Drive, said Katherine Main of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
It took 55 firefighters about 14 minutes to knock it down, she said.
Fire officials said the 36-year-old man, whose name has not been released, lived with his mother and aunt.
His mother woke up to the smell of smoke and called authorities, but when firefighters arrived there was no visible smoke or flames.
They entered the home and pulled the man from the front bedroom and took him to the front yard of a neighboring house, where he died.
Officials said the fire started in the man's room but how it began is unclear. He wasn't believed to be a smoker, but he used candles at times, authorities said.
The home lacked smoke detectors, officials said, adding that the man probably died because of smoke from a slow, smoldering fire.
It was the latest fire-related fatality in a location where authorities no smoke detectors were installed. Last week, a 61-year-old man died in a garage fire in Winnetka that had no smoke detectors. A week earlier, a family of four perished in a fire that broke out inside a Sylmar two-story converted barn-like structure.
Firefighters there were no smoke detectors installed, although an attorney for the property owner said they "were provided."
Officials said they are pondering whether to launch a campaign to remind residents to ensure smoke detectors are installed in their homes.
"We can talk and we can write so much, but people have to act," Los Angeles Fire Chief Stephen Ruda said Tuesday. "Maybe it's the apathy of the people: 'It won't happen to me.' "