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Five Dead In Westlake Building Fire; Possible Arson Suspect Arrested

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Four bodies were discovered after firefighters entered a Westlake district building that had been engulfed in flames, bringing the total number of casualties to five, reports CBS 2.

More than 140 firefighters responded to the multiple-alarm fire that was reported at around 7 p.m. on Monday. The blaze, which occurred at a two-story office building at 2411 West 8th St., was brought under control at approximately 9:30 p.m. Monday.

Initially, firefighters had reported that there was one casualty and five injuries. That figure was revised this mid afternoon after firefighters brought in detection dogs and found four more victims in the rubble. In total, three men and two women were among the casualties, according to a statement by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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According to NBC 4 the building was supposed to be vacant; officials believe that the victims were transients staying in the structure. Three people were rescued from the fire. No firefighters were injured in the incident.

Firefighters said that a possible arson suspect was detained, reports NBC 4. According to L.A. Weekly the person was booked, possibly for a murder allegation.

LAist contacted the LAFD, but representatives were unable to comment as they were preparing for a statement from the fire chief. This incident is not to be confused with a separate fire that happened early this morning at a recycling plant in Maywood.

Update [5:43 p.m.]:
The arson suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Johnny Sanchez, reports ABC 7. Officials believe that Sanchez, who is homeless, had a dispute with other transients and later deliberately set the fire. He has been booked on suspicion of murder.

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