Fire wrecks historic Maywood building

March 13, 2010 5:57:05 PM PST
Investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire that swept through an historic building in downtown Maywood.

The fire started a few minutes after 11 p.m. Friday night, but this was a stubborn one that took hours to completely put out.

There were no injuries.

It took several hours to finally put out the fire at the three story building at 20 N. 5th Ave. in downtown Maywood. About 50 firefighters responded to what at one point had to be raised to a 3-11 alarm. They say it was an automatic alarm that triggered the response and what they found on arrival was heavy fire in the back of the building.

"It appears right now that the floor is into the first floor. We haven't been able to get people in just yet because we're running into floors that collapsed," said Chief John Cadagin, Maywood fire chief.

Firefighters rescued an 8-year-old child from an apartment inside the building. Officials say he was sleeping when they found him and that he was the only one inside when they arrived.

There is a lot of history to this structure. It is an old bank building which now houses the Bronco Thrift Shop on the ground floor, at least a couple of apartments on the second floor, and a dance studio on the second and third floors. Stairway to the Stars offers dance and music classes to poor children and has been in operation for over 30 years.

While it's not yet known what caused the fire, what is clear is that the damage is extensive, and it seems it may be a while before either businesses or residents can return.